When we see someone successful, we often assume that they've always known that they would end up where they are. Jeremy Burton would tell you that this couldn't be further from the truth - it's about taking risks to make way for better things.

A Happy Accident

Jeremy Burton never dreamed of or planned on working in marketing. In college, he studied information systems engineering. A self-described engineer by trade, Burton started working in technical support for Oracle shortly after graduation. His boss at Oracle, Sohaib Abbasi, was the future CEO and founder of Informatica. "He asked me three times if I would move from R&D and head up his marketing division at Oracle. I eventually took the risk and said yes," remembers Burton. "It was a complete accident - I never intended to be there."

While marketing was never on Burton's agenda, he quickly fell in love with it on the job. His transformation from engineer to marketer was natural. "My love for building and developing products translated into increased efficacy as a marketer," Burton said. "My intimacy with the product allowed me to understand how the product's value differentiated it from the rest of the market."

Fast Forward: Managing a Merger

When the opportunity presented itself, Burton was very excited by the prospect of an acquisition. Dell Technologies now encompasses seven tech companies, including EMC, Pivotal, and SecureWorks. Burton explained that he was excited by three factors:

An intricate challenge - The acquisition's complexity pushed Burton towards pursuing it, because he enjoys working with intricate challenges.

Creating a story - Burton knew that the acquisition would be an opportunity to create a narrative around the reason for the merger. "Our main narrative is conveying to our clients that we can help them with all of their technological needs," said Burton.

Resource development - Burton was also excited by the idea of expanding Dell's portfolio further. "So many companies are going digital," he explained. "We want to be a compelling actor in this next stage of marketing."

Take Advantage of Trends

There were three big trends Burton says are crucial to keep up with:

Analytics - "I am a big fan of Big Data," Burton said. "While I don't think it provides niche marketing information, it does produce information that derives general marketing trends." He suggests marketers have a dedicated data scientist on hand to take full advantage of analytics.

Content - The demand for quality engagements is rising, and Burton suggests marketers cut through the digital clutter by targeting a proper consumer base with highly relevant, value-driven content.

Video - Burton suggests all companies have an in-house capacity for video productivity to engage clients. "I'd estimate that in the near future, 70% of online content will be video-based," he predicted.

Wise Words of Advice

For all the other marketers, Burton offers up the advice he wishes he had given himself.

Promote what you believe in - Burton warns against a disconnect between the original passion and the company. "What are you passionate about? What are you trying to achieve? That's what you've got to always be thinking about," he said.

Know what differentiates your product - To sell your product, you need to know it inside and out, and be able to advocate for what makes it unique. Burton adds, "You need to give the consumer a very specific outline on why you beat the other guys."

Take the risk - It just might pay off.