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Are you brave enough for digital marketing?

I spend a lot of my time speaking, teaching, training–use whatever word you like the best. Most of that work is in digital marketing. Because I train approximately 1500 students a year, I have probably seen just about every kind of digital marketing student you can imagine. And the longer that I do it, the more I have become convinced that the most important key to success is not knowledge. It’s bravery.

That seems odd, doesn’t it? Especially coming from me, because you’d think that my job would be to impart knowledge. But more and more, I don’t think that is my only job. Increasingly, I am seeing people who are flat out fraidy-scared. They are watching the world change faster and faster and they don’t see how they can keep up. They are afraid that they can’t keep up. That they aren’t good enough. That it is moving too fast for them to keep pace.

And they are right.

And I tell them they are right. (Great teacher, huh?)

The reason that they are scared is that they are thinking the wrong way. They think that if they just work harder, stay up later, run faster, and otherwise extend themselves that they will finally feel better. They won’t.

They think that if they could just catch up to what they’ve been missing that they will be able to relax. Nope.

What’s happening is that things will keep moving faster. Not only is change not slowing down–it is speeding up. You are never going to catch up. You need to change how you are thinking.

Instead of trying to catch up with everything, start thinking about what is changing and what you really need to know. I have B2B marketers petrified that they don’t understand Pinterest. Or Groupon. Neither do I, I tell them. Why? Because none of my clients have needed it yet.

They also wonder how they will know what to do. I mean, how will they know what will work for their company. I tell them I don’t know, either. How can that be? Well, I don’t know what will work, but I know a dozen things to test. The test will tell us what to do.

The big problem is that they are afraid that they are not measuring up because they don’t understand something new. Or because they don’t know what to do. And I get that. It makes me nervous, too. The only difference between them and me is that I feel my fear and then I just keep going. I might not understand Pinterest, but when a client needs it, I am brave enough to try to figure it out. I might not know what to do in every situation, but I am brave enough to try a few things until something works.

Are you? If not, digital marketing might not be for you. Because if you think it is moving fast now, wait until next year. You might need to put on your big kid pants and just go for it? Scary? Maybe. But it is less scary than failing. Because that’s what happens when you are too petrified to go for it.

More and more, bravery beats knowledge.

 

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet 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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Discussion

  1. Ruth Stevens Ruth Stevens

    Mike, another reason digital marketers need to be brave is that the results are so transparent, there’s nowhere to hide.

  2. Avatar Mike Moran

    Gee, Ruth, I never even thought of that, but it’s true.

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