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Where does experimentation work best?

Most of you know that I have been hammering away at the idea that interactive marketing’s best approach is to “do it wrong quickly” but Seth Godin has a post that talks about an aspect of experimental marketing that I had never considered before.


Seth tells the story of the marine iguana, who adapted to living in shallow water. Seth argues that the adaptation was successful because the iguana had an environment that afforded the time for the change to take place. He then explains to marketers that you need a quiet market, not a hot one, to experiment.
I think that’s a brilliant point. I’ve been exhorting folks to experiment, to do it wrong quickly, and it is working, but maybe it is working because we are still in the early days of interactive marketing. As best practices emerge, it makes sense that experimentation gets harder because more competitors have more experience and more learning—it’s not a green field any more.
Luckily, I think we are at least several years away from that in Internet marketing, but Seth’s point still stands. Perhaps the best places within your portfolio to experiment are ones where you are sure your competitors are still asleep instead of in hotly contested markets where your competitors respond to your every move.

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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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