Marketing isn't getting any easier or less competitive.

The marketing landscape is 39% bigger than it was even last year, according to the Chief Martec study out just last month. Now there are 5,381 unique solutions competing for the attention of marketers, and more on the way.

My roots are firmly in marketing. When I evaluate venture deals at Valor, the founders' ability to evolve the sales/marketing stack is just as important as the strength of their tech. So how do today's most competitive marketing leaders spread influence?

I asked some some top marketers to share their favorite marketing approach.

Sean Cook, Vice President of Marketing, MailChimp

Publish a piece of data. Writers and editors of publications are hungry for something to write about and data has particular credibility and interest. Any stat about your customers or your market that is informative and unique is compelling and can often get you press and coverage beyond what you can afford to buy and with much more credibility.

Elizabeth Olmstead, Sr Manager of Public Relations, Cox Enterprises

Relationships still matter. This means abandoning the one size fits all approach and taking the time to really know your audience. People want to know why something should matter to them, not everyone else. Whether you are selling an idea, service or product, individuals listen to people they know.

Jean-Luc Vanhulst, President, Write2Market

Measure or it didn't happen. CMOs face new marketing channels all the time, while overall budgets are mostly flat. This creates a need to laser focus on the ROI of all marketing activities. Today's top performing channel is tomorrow's thud.

Dani Cushion, CMO, Cardlytics

With so much data, it's very easy to include TOO MUCH. The most successful pieces of owned and earned content we've generated focus on one key "aha" - entirely driven by something that keeps our clients up at night. When we released research showing how the meal kit delivery industry was starting to capture consumer spend from restaurants and grocery chains, our phones rang off the hook from clients looking to defend their market share. We kept it simple, and picked our line so our clients didn't have to puzzle over an article to have an "aha" moment.

Ken Robbins, CEO, ResponseMine

The landing page is a magical place for expanding marketing. You simply cannot know what works. Plan to fail 10 tests in a row to get a winner. Test 20-30 to get a 20%-50% lift in lead conversion. You must persuade and remove the inherent friction. Torture that page until the market effortlessly fills in your forms and calls you to buy from you. The landing page is the single greatest lever in making marketing work.

Joe' Lloyd, Director of Global Marketing, NanoLumens

Ditch email nurture programs. They are a bad striptease! One sock removed this week . . . another one next week . . . would you go back for that?! We are all consumers, no matter B2C or B2B, and when we are ready to buy, we research to our heart's content. Consider the success of Netflix and follow suit with pretty, easy to digest content that fits today's "binging" behavior. Tool of choice: Uberflip.

Cullen Schwarz, Cofounder and Chief of Good Thoughts, DoneGood

People have ad fatigue. Their bullshit meters are set on high alert. Say things you truly believe, things that inspire you (if your words don't inspire you, you won't inspire anyone else). This has the double-benefit of both working better and feeling better. I used to work in political marketing . . . I learned to stop trying to figure out what magic words you think will get your audience to act. Instead come up with magic ideas. Then communicate those ideas in the words you would actually use if you were sharing them with a person you love.

Katharine Mobley, CMO, Crescerance

Knowing when your potential buyer is engaged in content is critical to the success of your marketing plans. In edtech, our buyers read email before 7 am or after 3:30 pm and if we are going to do a webinar, then it needs to be between 7 pm - 8 pm. Knowing when your potential buyer is engaged in content is critical to the success of your marketing plans.

For top marketers, the conversation isn't about tools--it's about people and process.

From tradeshows to speaking and content marketing, the manifold means to reach customers is clay in the hands of these sculptors, who align their instincts, budgets, tech and metrics to take next steps in the march toward better business.