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Digital marketing is about bravery

I teach at Rutgers, other schools, and for many large companies on the subject of digital marketing. I am no dummy–I think it is important for people to know things about digital marketing, and they should definitely hire me to explain those things. But the longer I teach people about digital marketing, the less I think that digital marketing success revolves around knowledge. What it really requires is bravery.

What I believe is holding back most digital marketers is fear. The fear of being wrong. The fear of being embarrassed. The fear of looking stupid. Or some other fear. What’s yours?

I find that the most successful digital marketers overcome this fear to actually try things–just to see how it works. The unsuccessful ones study and study, learning and learning, but always feel like they need to learn just a little bit more.

But here is the secret. No one will actually pay you any more because you are smart. Knowing more won’t get you paid more. You’ll get paid more only when someone is convinced you will make them more money. Knowing about marketing doesn’t make anyone any money. What makes you more money is by acting on that knowledge, and yes, risking being wrong, risking being embarrassed, and risking five other things. It takes courage.

Some of you probably don’t think of yourselves as brave. Ask yourself this: “What is the most difficult thing you have ever had to overcome in your life?” Whatever it is, I bet you that taking a few chances in digital marketing won’t be harder than that.

Instead of shying away from the challenge, try believing in yourself. You are made of strong stuff and you need to act on that belief. Just start experimenting. It’s OK to be wrong sometimes. It is just not OK to chicken out.

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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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