Become a member of The Drum and stay one step ahead

Explore our new sections and topics

Moving toward a sustainable future: The innovation and transformation of the food industry

Kees Kruythoff

chairman and chief executive officer

Sir Martin Sorrell

founder & executive chairman

Stein IAS CCO on uncovering the internet’s true meaning

It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet, yet Tom Stein, chairman and CCO of Stein IAS, remembers the internet’s infancy and recalls a former client’s hesitation to invest in the now dominant media space.

With a career that spans 30 plus years in marketing, Stein has seen the impact of the internet on the industry – something that he anticipated early on.

To promote the release of the second chapter of his book-in-progress, Paradox: Feeling Machines and the Rise of Post-Modern Marketing, Stein ventures down memory lane and reminisces over his time working with the then print publication, The Sporting News, in the 1990s.

Stein worked closely with their young publisher, Tom Osenton, who was tasked with finding the best direction for the sports title which, Stein claims, was begrudgingly plodding along, oblivious to the cusp of the digital revolution.

Together, Osenton and Stein devised a plan to launch the title online, however the CEO at the time, Francis Pandolfi, promptly dismissed it, claiming, “The Internet will have no meaningful effect in our lifetimes.”

How wrong he was! Although both Osenton and Stein lost their job and client respectively, the irony was never lost on Stein, who’s now used the story as inspiration for the book chapter. In it, he looks at the rise of the internet and how the advent of modern marketing went on to shape – and displace – various business models, who had to respond to this new media platform.

Ultimately, Stein reminds us that change is inevitable within any industry and business, suggesting that it’s never as far as we presume it to be. Of course, digital media and consequently, digital marketing, has changed the way we live and work. Something Stein believes comes at a price as he thinks it’s contributing to the destruction of our values.

He urges us to reset our understanding of digital marketing – advising more of this in the full chapter, available here.