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Fear and marketing

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of addressing 100 marketers from the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Marketing Association. As I began to speak, I found that the PowerPoint file was corrupted on the conference’s laptop. And so was the copy on their flash drive. I was faced with doing my presentation with no slides. That experience was enough to put me in a mind to talk about fear today.


No, not the fear of public speaking, although that is a common fear. I want to talk about fear and marketing.
Usually when we talk about fear and marketing, we are talking about how to sell life insurance or some other product where fear motivates our customer. But I want to talk about fear in marketing—the fear that marketers bring to their own jobs.
When I talk to groups about how to “do it wrong quickly,” marketers usually understand the idea intellectually. But often, people are gripped with fear. After all, no one really wants to do it wrong. If you’re afraid of what the Internet requires of you, maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and just give it your best shot.
That worked for me yesterday. I took my deep breath and just started to talk to the audience. They were very understanding and appreciated that I did my best—and that I did not make them wait for it to be done right. After all, I could have fired up my own computer and taken several more minutes to start so I could show them the slides. Instead, I did it wrong quickly, by just speaking extemporaneously without the slides. Maybe I would have done a better job with the slides, but it was best not to leave people waiting.
As usual, here are my slides from my talk, Step-by-Step Search Success. It’s just that I am used to having shown them already before I post them. Still, it gave me an adrenaline rush to be reminded that sometimes I need to do what I am exhorting others to do. I know it’s not easy or comfortable to cast aside fear to “do it wrong quickly.” It’s just necessary.

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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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