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Top-down Internet marketing

I guess a pretty cool article to go with this headline would be about SEO, paid search and social media happening while you are zipping down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway for the uninitiated) in a convertible with your top down. That would be cool. This “top down,” however, refers to an organizational approach to Internet marketing that needs to be more the norm. Imagine the company that has an E-suite that actually understood the Internet. Oh the places you’ll go ….

black and white and top down

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Most Internet marketing occurs below the Executive Committee, E-suite, or Board Room level. These concepts and ideas around search and social media are tossed up the food chain, but often without the appropriate vision being explained to those who are “making the decision.” This is where the small and medium enterprise has a distinct advantage over the big boys, in my humble opinion. (Question: When someone writes IMHO are they really being humble or kinda arrogant in a sideways manner? Just wondering.)
What if the C-level leadership of these more flexible and agile organizations actually studied and learned the potential for these techniques and drove the initiatives from the top down? I suspect we would see the following:

  • Larger budget percentage for online marketing opportunities. While these budget numbers increase year over year, with online gaining more and more of its share of the budget pie, it still seems as if many relegate the Internet portion of their marketing spend to the smaller side. Not to say that all marketing dollars spent on things that have “always worked” should be redirected. That’s not smart. I will say though that most companies have sold themselves short on the opportunities that the Internet affords their business.
  • More thought leadership. I love how folks on the Internet can go from working in their bathrobes to thought leaders. The Internet is a great enabler and equalizer all at once. What if more C-level folks got out of their country clubs and onto the thought leadership track? If they thought they wielded influence before, imagine the impact if they would just realize that “being online” is nothing to fear, but rather a tool to embrace?
  • Stronger bottom lines. Many companies and their leaders are grousing about the economy and its impact on the bottom line. Here’s my take on that. If they have not fully utilized the Internet in their marketing efforts then they need to simply shut up. Stop making excuses, Mr. Company Owner. I know that seems rude, but we don’t like to hear complaining from people who have not given it their best shot, do we? If many of these businesses that have been set back on their heels by this economy would have embraced Internet marketing five years ago, they might have a completely different set of stronger clients from a larger geography. Heck, they may not even look like they do now, due to the opportunity that was opened to them on the net. They didn’t take advantage, in many cases, because of short-sighted C-level folks asleep at the wheel. Casting a wider net on the net will help prepare companies to survive this downturn and future downturns as well. This happens from the top down.

This list could go on ad infinitum. I would love to hear some other areas that strong top-level understanding of Internet marketing could impact businesses of all sizes from our readers. Thanks for checking in and we look forward to your thoughts.

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  1. Avatar Lisa Welchman

    What a great post! I love in particular:
    “Many companies and their leaders are grousing about the economy and its impact on the bottom line. Here’s my take on that. If they have not fully utilized the Internet in their marketing efforts then they need to simply shut up.”
    We work on the infrastructure enabling side of the Web and have noticed that most organizations have been lazy about using the Web to reduce operational costs (most intranets are an embarrassing mess) and organizations are also a mess about how they manage their Web technical and editorial processes. There are frequently redundant systems and processes and an ongoing and tiresome battle between the communications side of the business and the IT arena over who “owns” the Web site.
    Mostly, we think these problems persist, because “E” and “C” leadership don’t want to make the hard choices and articulate a clear vision for the Web and then formalize the authority in the organization to get it done. If you’re interested, we’ve got a paper on “Managing the Web in a Recession” ( that might be of interest.
    Thanks again for the great post.
    Lisa Welchman

  2. Avatar Van Theodorou

    Mike, one thing I have started to learn while building additional online businesses with a partner is the importance of outsourcing, not only does this free up my time but makes my time more productive by allowing me to focus on my most productive activities. Doesnt top management get so bogged down with time consuming and unproductive activities, can we say meetings!

  3. Avatar sam

    Internet marketing is a big, confusing industry filled with hype-driven sales pithces. Occasionally you do find the gems; that great ebook or software that will change the way you make money online forever!
    The difficult part is to brush aside the hype and find the ones that are really worth your time

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