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When will you know enough about digital marketing?

I teach students about digital marketing. All the time. And I know why they come. They just want to get an expert to tell them what to do. Unfortunately, they get me. I wish I could tell you that I feel like an expert–like I know what I am doing. I wish that I could tell you that I have all the answers. The truth i,s I would feel better if I even had all the questions.

If I have learned nothing else about digital marketing, it is this: if you ever think you know everything there is to know, just wait ten minutes and it will change.

So, if you are waiting until you learn enough to be comfortable, I have some bad news for you. I’m not comfortable yet. I don’t think that you will become comfortable by merely learning more. You’ll become comfortable only when you get used to the fact that you only figure out what to do by trying it.

That’s why I tell my students that digital marketing isn’t really about knowledge. It’s about bravery.

It takes courage to try things when you don’t know if they will work. It takes courage to try something and actually measure whether it works or not. It takes courage to do it in front of your colleagues, your boss, and your customers.

And we don’t want to do it. We don’t want to be brave. We don’t want to experiment. We don’t want to be wrong.

But the problem is that if you are a marketer who doesn’t try anything, you never learn the most important lesson–what your actual customers want. Only by experimenting do you figure that out.

But bravery is even more important than that–because no one will pay you any more money for being smarter, or for knowing more. They will only pay you more when you make them more money.

So, don’t be a fraidy-cat. Take a shot, and then learn from your mistakes to take a better shot next time. Eventually, you’ll start hitting your target. If you’re brave.

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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, 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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