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Is your marketing a conversation?

I’ve spoken before about how the Internet turns marketing into a conversation. Lots of people have. But it’s not a new idea. In fact, I was lucky enough to work with one of the people that figured it out first, although I frankly didn’t grasp the significance of what he was saying at the time.


Back in the mid-90s, I worked with Chris Locke, later one of the authors of the seminal book, The Cluetrain Manifesto. All Chris could talk about back then was how the Internet enabled communities to form around almost any subject—communities that would become more powerful than the hackneyed marketing messages that pervaded our public discourse. I could see his logic, but I wasn’t smart enough to see what we should be doing about it at the time.
Later, Chris and his co-authors made “Markets are conversations” the first point of their 95-point manifesto. So why are we still talking about it now? Because it is finally happening.
The Cluetrain folks were visionaries. Back then, this conversational markets phenomenon affected only a few industries. Today, average people are participating in communities in many markets. Soon, rating a product or commenting on a blog will be as common as e-mail. And many more methods of customer participation will arise too.
Chris was absolutely right, of course. He warned you this was coming years ago. Luckily, you still have a chance to do something about it before the vision is totally realized.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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