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We've all heard many, many, many times that marketing is changing. After a while, it's like hearing the Earth is turning. So what?

What most marketers don't know is how much or how fast it's changing. That change is already having a huge impact on brands, job, agencies, budgets and the nature of marketing itself. And the pace is accelerating.

Carl Doty understands this very well. He's vice president at Forrester Research, directing the group serving marketing leadership and customer insights.  

At the Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders this month, Doty strutted up and down the stage in a keynote address, trying to impress upon the audience just how critical it is to shift away from campaign marketing and toward contextual marketing. His latest research, "The Power of Customer Context," was published a few days later along with another study by his Forrester colleague Melissa Parrish.

Brands Can't Control the Messages

CMSWire sat down with Doty to go over the highlights of that report and some of the things he said on stage, including the fact that customers now have greater control over brands than marketers.

Murphy: In my role, I see a lot of advertising. What's wrong with web advertising?

Doty: I think the mistake here is brands think they can control their messages. They think they have a lot more control than they really do. In fact, their customers are doing more of the controlling than the brands do. They search when they want. They search where they want. They look for information not just from branded content but from friends, from social networks, from places that are hard for a brand to control. I think that's really the spirit of what we're getting at here. Customers don't necessarily trust the carefully crafted and orchestrated messages that are coming from brands today.

Murphy: You're talking about creating a "contextual marketing engine." First, how does contextual marketing differ from campaign marketing?

Doty: Contextual marketing is about marketers capturing information and data about the customer in the moment, and applying some real time analytics technologies in that moment to learn something — when the customer is there and when they can still do something to act on it. This requires not just different thinking and different strategies, but different technologies as well. Traditionally, analytics is done in a retrospective fashion. You analyze your campaign performance, see what you can learn and you take those learnings and apply them to the next campaign. Contextual marketing is about analyzing in the moment and applying the insight in the moment. It's a very different process.