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Does this stuff really work at IBM?

While I am in Oregon, I took the time to stop at the IBM Beaverton lab, where I did a reprise of my presentation at the Internet Strategy Forum conference. When I talked about how to “Do It Wrong Quickly,” a few skeptical folks asked, “Are we really doing that here at IBM?” It’s a good question and it deserves an honest answer.


It isn’t always easy at IBM. I spent eight good years at ibm.com, but it took quite a while for us to get the right metrics in place to measure what we do. In fact, some of the metrics that we really need on conversions are still not available for every single part of our two-million page Web site.
And some areas of IBM still want to deliberate too long over everything before trying something new. IBM isn’t perfect.
But we are really trying. We’ve made great strides in recent years to run more and more projects based on measurable outcomes and I think it shows. It’s not easy to organize thousands of people across numerous business units and 90 countries to do anything. much less something that requires culture change. But the change is happening and the ones adopting the new ways are proving successful.
And that is about as good as it ever gets. It’s OK that the culture change isn’t total, that it is ongoing. and that it gets a little better every day. Because you can do your culture change wrong quickly too. You don’t have to wait for perfection to do anything—just make sure whatever you change (culture or anything else) is a little bit better than it was before, or else throw that change away and try again. That’s all that “do it wrong quickly” is about, anyway.

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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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