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Internet marketing requires courage

Most of you know I named my second book, “Do It Wrong Quickly,” which is a snarky way of saying you won’t get it perfect, so you can’t let that stop you from trying. But I got to thinking about how so many of the things that we do are harder than they need to be, not because they are intrinsically difficult, but because we make them difficult by worrying about whether they will succeed—and what happens if we fail.

The feet of a tightrope walker.

Image via Wikipedia

It reminded me of a story someone once told me. I don’t know the origination of the story and maybe someone can attribute it properly, but it is something we need to think about from time to time in Internet marketing.
Imagine that someone took a 2×4 piece of wood—a long plank—and set it on the floor, challenging you to walk across the plank without your feet slipping off the plank and touching the floor. Piece of cake, right? Nothing hard about that. It requires a wee bit of balance but nothing the average person can’t manage.
Now, suppose that we suspend the 2×4 1000 feet in the air. Do you feel as confident? No? Why not?
It has nothing to do with the task—both tasks are exactly the same. It has to do with the risk surrounding failure. Too often, we obsess about what will happen if this marketing tactic or that tactic doesn’t work. What if we try something and we fail? We “awful-ize” our situation and make the stakes higher and higher until we are paralyzed from trying even simple tasks.
Sometimes these fears are quite justified, but they often reside mostly in our heads. Especially for Internet marketing, the risks are quite low, because failure is not that costly. So, take your plank and lay it on the floor and start walking across it. If you slip, it won’t be that bad.

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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,, 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 is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at 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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