Before-Internet and After-Internet – the millennium changes

Some may remember the year 2000 as Y2K. Do you remember the worldwide concerns about what would happen as we passed the witching hour of midnight on December 31, 1999? Some said they would not be in the air in case the aircraft control systems did not correctly make the transition. The concern was any internal clocks that recorded the year with only two digits. Would the clock correctly tick over from 99 to 00? .. and would that mean 1900 or 2000? Enormous sums of money were invested to make sure that there were no hazards left in any systems, whether they be individuals’ heart pacemakers or banks’ financial control systems. In the event there were no recorded problems and life continued on its merry way.

At the same time another transition was occurring that has been, and will be, much more earth shaking. In the years from 1995 to 2005 we can now see that we moved from a Before-Internet world to an After-Internet world. From BI to AI, it’s as world-shaking in its own way as moving from BC to AD. In so many ways, the free transmission of huge amounts of data around the world is overturning established ways of doing business. Anyone who is not aware of the massive changes that are around us may find that old ways no longer work.

This line of thought hits me often but I was particularly struck by a recent blog item entitled, What’s your Marketing IQ? This discussed the results that Copernicus Marketing Consulting had developed with its Marketing IQ test. According to this, among a national sample of more than 1000 CEOs, the average Marketing IQ was just 79 – with 100 being average and 160 being the highest score possible. That sounds pretty bad. How can CEOs be so unaware of the key function that will help them achieve the sales growth targets for their companies?

Looking into this more intensely, I found that the Marketing IQ test gave as a reference for some of the questions and answers a book written by Kevin J. Clancy entitled, “Marketing Myths That Are Killing Business: The Cure for Death Wish Marketing” (McGraw-Hill,1994). That perhaps explains why some of the questions seem so out-of-touch with current reality. Only the traditional Before-Internet marketing methods were discussed. There was no mention of Internet Marketing. This IQ test is being used when Google may possibly become the 4th biggest company next year in terms of advertising revenues, ahead of NBC Universal and Time Warner.

Perhaps the CEOs should have been given an After-Internet Marketing IQ test rather than a Before-Internet test. They may have scored even more poorly, but at least they would be considering the right questions.

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