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Big company marketers must influence

I was talking to the Web team for a large multinational company today, emphasizing the importance of setting up governance to make sure that the entire company mobilizes around their marketing efforts. At one point, they stopped me and said, “No, we don’t have to do that because we have the whole team here.” Unfortunately, unless it’s the CEO talking, that’s never true.


Too often the problem that we are trying to solve in big companies is so large that it hurts our brains to even think about it. We naturally cut the problem down to size because that gives us control. We want to shrink the challenge to something that is within our sphere of control.
The bad news is that Internet marketing never works that way.
Take search marketing. The person who spoke to me today manages a large team that controls the IT infrastructure, including Webmasters, content management systems, and the real guts of what makes their Web site—worldwide. But that’s only a fraction of the folks that need to make search marketing work.
What about the rest? The writers that put the words on the site. The translators that produce the pages in other languages. The product manager that names the product. The marketing person who decides the core messaging. All of these folks (and many more) have key impacts on the success of your organic search marketing. And nobody controls all of them in a worldwide enterprise, except the CEO.
Your job is to influence them. To rewrite the processes that define their jobs. To evangelize the importance of what you want them to do. To develop operational metrics that check up on them. All of these actions (and more) influence people you don’t have control over.
And it’s not just search marketing. You need to do the same thing with all Web 2.0 marketing. You’ll never have a blogging department. You can’t outsource it, either. You need to get your whole company (or big chunks of it, anyway) to take on these new marketing approaches.
Nobody can do it with command and control. Just as marketers have to give up message control to settle for influencing conversations, they must also realize that they don’t control marketing within their company on the Web—the smart ones influence it.

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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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