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Any team can have a bad century

I am a Chicago Cubs fan. There, I admit it. For those unaware, the Cubs this season are celebrating (?) their 100th year without winning baseball’s World Series. I even have a T-shirt that says “Any team can have a bad century.” This year, the Cubs are in first place, with the best record in the National League, but Cub fans know that July is often the peak of a Cub season. (One rumor is that CUBS is actually an acronym for “Completely Useless By September.”) Why am I telling you all this? Because Internet marketers can learn something from Cub fans.

Cub fans are a strange breed. None of us ever remember when we were on top, but we are still optimistic. Every year, we say to ourselves, “This is our year!” Some years, like this one, it’s easier to say that with a straight face then others.

Internet marketers need to take the same attitude as Cub fans. None of us have enough confidence to say we have the very best Web site in the world—if there was a World Series for Web marketing, we’d never win. But we need to have that same Cub fan perspective, where we optimistically look to improve every day.

As Internet marketers, no matter how many numbers we watch, we never win. No matter how many visitors you attract with your outstanding search marketing or social media or e-mail, you could always have done more. No matter how persuasive your copy that made so many people click, it wasn’t 100%. Regardless of how high your sales are, they can always be higher.

And when you are on a losing streak, you don’t get to cancel the rest of the season. You need to go out there every day and do your best, even when the results are not there. Just like most of those Cub seasons.

In some ways, this can seem relentless, overwhelming, and sometimes a bit depressing. You need to try a lot of things to find one that works. You need to be willing to make errors (just like those Cubs). And you’ll do it all out in public, which can be a bit embarrassing.

It would be nice to be able to avoid all the pain that goes with this stuff, but like just doesn’t work that way. The only way out is to decide you aren’t going to show up for the game anymore.

So, we need to remember what former Cub Bill Buckner once said, “There’s nothing wrong with this team that more pitching, more fielding and more hitting couldn’t help.” And that is what we need to remember as we do Internet marketing. There’s nothing wrong with our Web site that more visitors, more clicks, and more conversions can’t help. There’s no World Series to win, but we can make it better every day.

I am sending my monthly newsletter a day early, because, as I usually do, I’ll be taking most of August off. I’ll probably post a blog or two, but not every day as usual. Fortunately, I have recruited a few other bloggers who will begin regular contributions to Biznology, starting tomorrow, so while posts will be lighter in August, we won’t dry up completely.

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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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