This week, in what I’m dubbing our “client corner”, I was able to catch up with Gordon Magee, Internet Marketing and Media Manager at Drs. Foster and Smith, the largest catalog and online seller of pet supplies in North America. Gordon oversees all aspects of the company’s e-commerce marketing and its three websites. Read below to learn how Gordon stays “in the loop” on digital news and balances the challenges of an evolving market.

Kelly Wrather: What’s a challenge you face as a digital marketer?

Gordon Magee: Staying current in the fun, yet rapidly changing world of the Internet that we all work in is a big challenge. Current doesn’t mean going with the latest fad, but it does involve being aware of those fads. More important than fads are genuine trends — things that move the marketplace and move sales.  Staying current without being knocked down by the firehose of data and opportunities that are out there is the challenge.

KW: How has Kenshoo helped you address that challenge?

GM: Knowing that there is a best-in-class team working to stay ahead of the competition is helpful.  No one can be an expert at everything, so it is important to surround yourself with individuals or companies that are experts in their areas.  Kenshoo is that kind of group for us.

KW: As you mentioned, digital is a rapidly evolving industry. Any tips for how to stay on top of the trends?

GM: Answer your phone calls.  I get 20 to 40 calls a week and probably that many emails every other day (as most of us do) from people trying to sell us stuff from software to the latest customer acquisition tool. How many people miss opportunities because they choose not to listen to the folks on the other end? By answering calls you can get an education in a hurry about what is new in the marketplace. It happens by osmosis.

Obviously going to conferences is helpful as well, as is reading literature that others don’t normally read.  If you are a digital marketer, do you read Advertising Age, for example?  You should.  Most of the time that takes about 95 seconds, but often, there is an article in there that stops me in my tracks, an article that I don’t get in other more internet-focused publications.  They also have some great charts like “Digital Family Trees” and “Digital Fast Facts” that are helpful and that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Tune in next week for part two of my conversation with Gordon to hear his take on infinite optimization and his life outside the office walls!