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The danger of internet marketing autopilot

One of my kids approached me, book in hand, asking, “What’s the difference between a possum and an opossum?” I was busy doing something else, so I languidly replied, “They are the same, but opossums are Irish.” Yes, I could have Googled it to find out. I could have told him I didn’t know and told him to look it up. I could have at least engaged. But I was too distracted or too lazy to do it. It was autopilot parenting. Luckily, my son shook his head and went off to figure it out on his own (because he knows his father too well). But it made me wonder about all the things we do on autopilot, including Internet marketing (because everything makes me think of Internet marketing).

 I think a lot of us approach our Internet marketing this way. We undertake a flurry of activity to create (or redesign) our Web sites, but then leave it languish. We don’t watch the measurements. We don’t make changes. We don’t experiment. We don’t really pay attention because it isn’t causing a problem. No crisis, no attention.

North American Opossum with winter coat.

Image via Wikipedia

And for some of us, this even seems to work sometimes. If we’ve created a halfway decent Web site, we might still see some leads or some sales coming in. We might even see those results improve over time, even though we aren’t really doing anything to cause it. And we come to the conclusion that we don’t need to do anything–that autopilot works and that Internet marketing just doesn’t need our attention.

But it’s wrong. Just as me continuing to ignore my kid will someday have some severe relationship problems, so will ignoring your Internet marketing. First off, you will probably have to deal with the day when the results stop going up, because time has passed you by. You haven’t kept up with the way the Internet has changed and your competitive edge has suffered.

Or you might just be seriously under-performing but never know it. Perhaps your results could have been far better if you were actively managing and experimenting with your Internet marketing, but you never put in the effort to find out.

Worst of all is when you find a serious shift in the market occurs and your competitors are all over it and you have been sound asleep. If you leave your Internet marketing on autopilot for too long, you might go from playing possum to actually being dead.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a 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 served 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,, most recently as the Manager of 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 was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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