For CMOs, technology is exciting. And daunting. It's shaping marketing in unprecedented ways. The opportunities are seemingly endless. But so, sometimes, are the challenges.
For example: Have you ever felt so out of control when it comes to your marketing messages? Consumers are dictating what information gets to them and how they share their opinions, and technology is enabling them to do so. This shouldn't be news, but for many marketers, old habits die hard.
"Whether the result of greater media sophistication or corporate and government scandal fatigue, [in the early '90s] consumers were ready to create their own information-gated communities," Erik Sherman writes in "Out of Control," on page 9. "Companies can easily misunderstand these forces. Many CMOs, heirs to mass-media orientation, act as though consumers are still waiting to hear what they have to say. The corporate self-centeredness makes perceiving market changes difficult."
Getting over that corporate self-centeredness and seeing clearly those market changes is a key theme throughout this issue. Guest columnist David Weinberger, for example, asks marketers to resist the urge to brashly jump on the blog bandwagon without heeding the spontaneous, honest-indeed, human-dialog that lives in the blogosphere.
But the payoff for CMOs who understand technology's transformative ability and can read today's consumer, will be great. "We have only begun to understand how the interactive Internet can change, improve and make more effective advertising in all its forms," says Vint Cerf, a mastermind behind the Internet's genesis and our Q&A subject this month. "As a medium, the Internet is infinitely malleable."