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The Internet marketing marathon

The 113th running of the famed Boston Marathon scheduled for Monday April 20th (which happens to be my birthday, as well, if anyone gives a rip, and, no, I was not around for the first Boston Marathon). I started to think about Internet marketing again. As I have stated before in this column, this recurring theme of everything relating to Internet marketing is a problem and I am seeking help. A marathon, though, is a great way to look at the industry and take stock of where we might be in this grueling race for Internet marketing supremacy.


Image by Daniel Williams via Flickr

Of course, we all know that a marathon is long. The actual length is 26.2 miles. There is a back story there, but you can look it up on Wikipedia if you need to. It’s a grueling test of will and body. I have never run one and most likely never will. I do run with my best efforts falling in the 10 mile range, but that’s as far as I want to go. I know people who run these, and while they claim happiness, they never look it until weeks after the event.
So where’s the Internet marketing tie-in? Here we go. You know how at the start of these big races there is terrible cluster of people trying to get started, and it looks confusing? Well, apparently it is. Also, the folks at the front of that pack aren’t the ones who waited in line longest. They are the pros that are looking to win the money that is offered (last year the Boston race paid $150K to each the men’s and women’s winners). In Internet marketing terms, I would say these are the big boys that have the deep pockets. They are in better position to win the Internet marketing race just by their stature.
The difference in marketing vs. the race is the fact that the actual runners in the front are A LOT better than most. In Internet marketing it’s not always the case. Deep pockets do not always mean success. In fact, many big companies (Fortune 500 types) are doing a very poor job of Internet marketing, proving that bigger isn’t always better.
As for the rest of the pack? I think the vast majority of businesses haven’t even completed the first mile yet. There is still a huge mass of walkers and joggers and sprinters and others that are clumped together. Their desire is to break away from the pack but most haven’t.
Why? I think it’s fear. There is a level of comfort being part of the pack. There is a level of comfort being like everyone else. Being out in front and taking risks? Well, it sure sounds exciting but most people aren’t cut out for it. Internet marketing is one of the business practices that separate the wheat from the chaff.
So where are you? Are you looking to break out of the pack? One thing I like is that there is a lot of opportunity in this marathon. Even though we are close to 15 years into the age of the commercial Internet, we still haven’t even broken a sweat yet. Many would disagree, but that’s cool. For now, it’s still a free country.
Finally, there’s one other major difference between a running marathon and the Internet marketing marathon. In the running one, there is a finish line. A place to break the tape. A place to rest after a race well run. Internet marketing, however, is cruel. Not only is there no finish line but just when it looks like there may be one it either moves or just disappears. That is cruel.
Oh, and guess who’s holding the tape at the imaginary line. Google. Ouch.

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