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No, I am not here to announce that digital marketing is dead. In fact, it’s just a baby. What I am really asking is very simple: Why are you learning more about digital marketing? What is your specific reason? The reason that I ask that is I am concerned that too many of us are learning more out of reflex. We don’t understand something and that makes us feel uncomfortable and so we think we need to learn more. Maybe you do, but maybe you need to think differently.

Now, understand, I am not denigrating learning. Not at all. I teach more classes on digital marketing than I can keep track of. I work at several different universities and I do even more corporate training. All of that work is to help people learn.

I blog (you might have known that). I write books. All to educate.

So, no, I am not against learning, but I am against learning marketing just for its own sake. You see, marketing isn’t like philosophy or literature. We’re not enhancing our culture. We’re out for filthy lucre. Marketing needs to be learned only by marketers. Marketers just need to make money.

So, when you are learning more about digital marketing, I assume it is because you are trying to make more money. And, shocking as it may be, learning more does not make any more money. So, congratulations that you are so much smarter now. Nice going that you know more about your customer–and about digital marketing. But in order for that knowledge to matter, you have to actually do something.

That’s the catch.

Reading books, surfing the web, even going to classes or training sessions is actually the easy part. Trying things is what takes some bravery. Because usually it doesn’t work. Not because you are dumb. Not because you don’t know enough about digital marketing. But because most things usually don’t work, whether you are trying them or someone else is.

But it is the only way that you learn what your customers really want. It’s easy to sit back and say that you just need to learn more and then you will be ready to try it. Wrong. You need to try it so you can learn more.

Again, I am not against any of this education stuff–I wouldn’t do it (and I certainly couldn’t charge for it) if I didn’t think that it is worthwhile. But it ain’t enough.

Promise yourself to stop learning for the sake of learning. Promise yourself that you won’t keep learning just because you think it will finally make you comfortable enough to try something. Comfort is so 20th century.

Marketing is changing faster than ever before and we will be able to say that every year from now on and still be right. It is never going to be comfortable again if you think you need to know enough. Because no one ever knows enough. You need to get comfortable with trying things, with being wrong, and with trying again.

Learning can help you make a better guess at what to try. And that is the only good reason to be learning more digital marketing.

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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.

2 replies to this post
  1. Thanks Mike! When I first got into this nearly 6 years ago, I would follow the latest thing until I thought I was an expert. I have read numerous books (including yours) always thinking I had to catch up. For the last year or so, I said ‘the heck with it.’ I just starting writing more information and articles that I thought our customers would like to read. I started fun little contests that asked for participation. I linked others’ articles that I found interesting for our customers’ to read. Started to share some of our ‘secrets’ as well. Well, it has worked. We have seen growth in the past year and more return customers. Some of it can be can be tied to these ‘actions’ and some not.

    Thanks for all of your wisdom Mike!

    Jade York
    http://www.repairzone.com

  2. The real reason I want to “learn” about digital marketing is because I have a traditional marcom background: messaging, positioning, planning, strategy and execution in traditional channels. Many job descriptions ask for digital marketing experience. I can discuss it at a theoretical level, but I don’t have hands-on experience. In addition, it takes YEARS to master multiple marketing functions, let alone the combination of content vehicles like CRM, email, web, social, mobile… So the real question is how do you convice someone that you can do it if you never have? “Trust me… I’m a professional.”

    Thanks!
    Lisa Gonzalez

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