• Great insights, Joe, as usual. Many of the CMOs I speak with find social media a waste of time, and thus, feel that those who do participate can’t possibly be their customers. (It’s the old myopic, “I market to me”). This reminds me of the senior marketing execs who didn’t have time to Google, thought TripAdvisor was a dangerous pain in the neck (who wants to read other people’s stories??), and in 1998 wanted to disable the back-button on their websites, so folks wouldn’t stray. Social media is currently perceived as merely a pr vehicle – as seen by the 140 character press releases or promotions. If they saw the real power of genuine endorsements, dialogue, and powerful customer response mechanism – they’d get it. But first you have to make the time to learn the medium.

    • Thanks for your comments, Susan. Much appreciated. It is beyond me, why it takes so many senior executives in our industry this long to understand that the whole game has moved to a different playing field and is played according to a new set of rules they no longer can control. The irony is that the sooner they let go of the old control mechanisms the sooner they would become successful in this environment of customer control. Instead they keep fighting yesterday’s battles instead of facing new realities head on by either getting involved personally or at least empower their own innovative employees instead of frustrating them. Of course, as long as their incumbent ad and PR agencies who often don’t get it either are advising them not much will change.

  • Joe: Yes, there are so many parallels to what it going on with social media now and what happened regarding other “new things.” I think about the corporate responsibility realm, where many C-suite executives initially just didn’t get it, and even today many still view it as a PR exercise. None of these types of initiatives, whether it is social media or corporate responsibility, will work unless there is the proper tone — or should I say tweet — at the top.

    • The level of complacency and defense of the status quo in so many executive suites is astounding. Who wants to spearhead innovative initiatives in that kind of corporate culture. Change and advocacy has to start at the top or at least give the initiators green light to experiment rather than thwart efforts. The result of this attitude is often disruption by new start-ups often launched by industry outsiders as we now see in the trip planning arena with Travel Muse, Tripbase and others.