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I teach at Rutgers, other schools, and for many large companies on the subject of digital marketing. I am no dummy–I think it is important for people to know things about digital marketing, and they should definitely hire me to explain those things. But the longer I teach people about digital marketing, the less I think that digital marketing success revolves around knowledge. What it really requires is bravery.

What I believe is holding back most digital marketers is fear. The fear of being wrong. The fear of being embarrassed. The fear of looking stupid. Or some other fear. What’s yours?

I find that the most successful digital marketers overcome this fear to actually try things–just to see how it works. The unsuccessful ones study and study, learning and learning, but always feel like they need to learn just a little bit more.

But here is the secret. No one will actually pay you any more because you are smart. Knowing more won’t get you paid more. You’ll get paid more only when someone is convinced you will make them more money. Knowing about marketing doesn’t make anyone any money. What makes you more money is by acting on that knowledge, and yes, risking being wrong, risking being embarrassed, and risking five other things. It takes courage.

Some of you probably don’t think of yourselves as brave. Ask yourself this: “What is the most difficult thing you have ever had to overcome in your life?” Whatever it is, I bet you that taking a few chances in digital marketing won’t be harder than that.

Instead of shying away from the challenge, try believing in yourself. You are made of strong stuff and you need to act on that belief. Just start experimenting. It’s OK to be wrong sometimes. It is just not OK to chicken out.

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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.

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