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Old-style marketing wasn’t easy, but at least we knew how to do it. If we wanted to buy TV ads or print ads, we hired some creative people—or even a whole ad agency’s worth. If we wanted to do publicity, we hired a PR person. Whatever kind of marketing you wanted to do, you could just hire an expert.

Times have changed.
One of the things that makes Internet marketing difficult is that you can’t centralize it, but you must control it. You don’t succeed at search marketing by outsourcing it, or by hiring one expert—you must get everyone working on your Web site and on your Internet marketing to learn their piece of the job. Likewise, you’ll never have a blogging department—you need many employees writing their individual blogs to make a dent in your customers’ perceptions.
So, if centralization is out, what’s in? You control Internet marketing by establishing policies, providing training, and monitoring the results. Certainly you need to update your procedures so that employees know what’s to be expected of them. And you need to teach them new skills and approaches. Of course you must pay attention to success metrics.
And that’s the problem. It’s so much easier to centralize or outsource or delegate something to an expert, and so much harder to change your organizational culture to succeed with these new marketing approaches. So if you’ve been struggling to adapt to the new world of marketing, give yourself a break. Accept that it’s not the same as the old days. If you understand the kind of culture change you need, and how to bring it about, you’ll be more accepting of the time it takes to really make it happen. It’s OK to start slow and improve each day.

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

7 replies to this post
  1. Hello:
    Your entry about internet marketing being so challenging attracted my attention.
    You sound like an experienced expert in online marketing and I am excited to find your blog.
    My view is that internet marketing is not just challenging but it is either dying or dead and most online businesses (especially individual website owners, mom and pop sites and small business sites) must soon be forced to get off online and go back offline to do their marketing otherwise they will perish.
    Millions of websites and small businesses online are not getting any reasonable traffics and generating sales.
    How long will they continue being in denial that it just doesn’t work?
    Until they go bally up?
    The smart thing to do is accept the reality, go back offline and embark on an advertising blitzkrieg to generate a flood gate of traffic and make your business a shinning success.
    Ikey Benney

  2. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, Ikey, but I frankly couldn’t disagree more. The companies most challenged by Internet marketing are the large companies—small companies, especially the mom and pop shops, can’t afford a blizzard of advertising.
    Internet marketing levels the playing field and helps small businesses compete at very low cost. Large businesses face more challenges, but they can’t afford to ignore the benefits of Internet marketing either.
    I’d be more likely to advise businesses to ditch expensive offline marketing than Internet marketing, if you forced me to ditch either.

  3. Hello Mike:
    I am sure you missed my point and logic.
    How are individual website owners and small businesses doing better than big corporations and businesses in online advertising if
    (1) They cannot get top 10 positions in order to get traffics and and sales?
    (2) They cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars weekly in PPC advertising in order to get reasonable amount of traffics and sales?
    Just type the major keywords like: business, advertising, camera, online shopping, computer and tell me who you see in top 10 positions? Are they small businesses, individual website owners or big corporations?
    Actually, the playing flied has been raised way above the heads of small businesses and individual website owners.
    Only the deep pocketed big corporations who can afford to squander hundreds of thousands of dollars weekly in PPC ad campaigns, seo and other forms of online marketing.
    It may be that the reason why you disagree with what is so obvious is because you are working for a big corporation or own one or you are in the SEO or website hosting or designing business. You must have a vested interest in this.
    It is as clear is the daytime sun that internet marketing is either dead or dying for individual website owners and small businesses.
    I am not in denial about this and my company is already making arrangements to stop all internet marketing by January and continue offline.

  4. Mike and Ikey:
    Facinating back and forth. As a person who teaches internet marketing to college students and who has been involved in using the web to market for a very long time now, I have found that Internet Marketing is far from dead and frankly I see it as one of the best ways for a small business to market themselves especially on a shoe-string.
    Ikey the key is not to be in the top ten for the broad words…the real power is in the ability to reach your target market and do it without incurring high costs! You don’t say what your business is, but it is clear that somewhere down the line you got the message that in order to be successful in internet marketing, you must have a top ten listing and use PPC advertising.
    It’s really about an integrated approach — not an either/or.
    It makes no sense to put your ad out to millions of people if it isn’t relevenat to them and they are not your target market — regardless of the medium. What using the internet does get you is the ability to be focused, using local search and geotargeting your ads, incorporating specials into your print ads that drive people to your website and to your door, and taking advantage of sites like Craigslist, local chambers of commerce and partnering with other businesses in your area.
    It’s a shame that you are planning on shutting it all down — you may find that to be a more costly mistake than you planned on.
    Good luck whatever you decide!

  5. Ikey,
    Take heart my fellow small businessperson, I also work for what is regarded as a small company (@100 employees) and we rank 10 for many key phrases, a good number of which are the “major keywords” for our products.
    In three years we have gone from primarily offline lead generation 75% of all leads, to that same percentage coming from online marketing efforts (most coming in from organic search traffic). I am the only one performing this role across 5 websites, with a low 4 figure total monthly PPC budget.
    This is not a turn the switch and it’s done kind of effort, it is a continuous process that is integrated into nearly every facet of your business communications.
    Mike is a great source of information in this arena, so is “” “”. You are actually quite fortunate in the amount of very high quality information that is readily available on the subject. If you want success in this facet of your business, or even to become expert, it’s all right there, just a mouse-click and some time away.
    Start with the basics, build from there, and above all stick with it. Good luck!

  6. Hello:
    You didn’t publish my last reply on this topic.
    I wonder why?
    But I read your reply to it anyway, where you said that I seem to be angry about this issue.
    Yes, from my comments, it may seem that I sound angry but in reality, I am laughing out loud and rolling on the floor, because I have spotted an opportunity of the century, that will one day make me richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined!
    And by the way, in the near future I might have to go to your company IBM to do some deal about my new opportunity!
    You have a lot of qualifications and credentials on IT and it has been nice hearing your opinions on this topic.
    Ikey Benney

  7. I have published all of the comments from you that I have received, Ikey. You posted that comment on a different blog post, which is where I have replied. It’s been nice hearing from you also, but making claims about outdoing Gates and Buffet does little to buttress your credibility. The small businesses I see succeeding on the Internet are usually benefiting on a fairly modest scale. They’re happy not because they’ve hit the big score, but because they are seeing better return on investment from online than from offline marketing. You apparently have seen the reverse, so it makes sense that you’d stick with what works for you. I just don’t see your experience as typical, so I don’t think your advice to others to abandon online marketing ought to be heeded. Each marketer needs to experiment and stick with what works for them, as you’ve done.

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