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Web marketing is not a video game

Over the years, pundits have talked about how the generations coming up that have been raised on video games have a different take on digital marketing than us oldsters. Younger folks understand viscerally the difference with experiential marketing and old-fashioned brand marketing—video game experience surely plays a role in this. I’m certain that But my ten-year-old son had an insight today that I hadn’t considered.


“Dad,” he piped up, “Have you ever noticed that with video games, they always make it possible to win, but that real life doesn’t work that way?”
Well, I knew the real-life part, but I hadn’t thought about the video game part. And it has explained some behavior that I have seen a few times with folks just too stubborn to let go of their ideas.
I’ve watched marketers work on campaigns that weren’t working, but they wouldn’t let go of them. They kept tinkering, kept working, kept tweaking and fussing, but they wouldn’t just kill it. They wouldn’t throw it away in favor of another idea. It was as if they were sure there was some way to make this work—they just needed to find it.
But my son’s right. Sometimes the idea is just not workable. Sometimes we need to give it up, admit it was dumb, and move on to something else. And that’s hard. As resistant as some of us have been to the idea of experimental marketing, most of us know we need to do it. But experimentation includes failed experiments that just will never work out.
Can we put bad ideas out of their misery quickly? Sure, it makes sense to try several variations to see if the idea is OK but the implementation was wrong. But eventually, we need to move on when something isn’t working.
That stubbornness that serves us well in video games might be misplaced in Web marketing. Because in real life, sometimes you can’t win the game and you need to play something else.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet 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, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. 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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Discussion

  1. Avatar Amazing Blogger

    That’s really nice insight. I have a friend who is working for his Internet project for past three years and still have quite a big loss from it. You can’t say it’s not working, it does, but not as expected. I agree that sometimes you have to admit you’ve lost and move on.

  2. Avatar SEO India

    Every thing changing…. Noting is static. So one day web marketing may become video game..

  3. Avatar Software Company India

    This is a good article.
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  4. Avatar Qaswer

    I am wondering to see the intelligence and I.Q levels of young generations. They at least know something at this age which we didn’t.

  5. I am proud of young generation and all the talent they have. They are earning even more than us.

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    Should be interesting to see what the future beholds online.

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