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Agile Marketing is an acquired taste

I spent last week at the National Speaker’s Association annual convention. I was lucky to be named a Certified Speaking Professional and they gave me this medal to wear around my neck all week, so people naturally came up to congratulate me and ask me what you ask everyone at a speaker’s convention: “what do you speak about?” As soon as they heard that it was digital marketing, everyone had their favorite question to ask about their speaker website, social media, and YouTube channel.

Most of the questions sounded something like this, “should I spend [gobs of money] to [do five huge marketing projects]?”

And, even though they are speakers, the truth is that the questions I get from big corporations that are my clients sound just about the same. Everyone wants to know what the secret is at succeeding at digital marketing. The minute you tell it to them, they want to spend every cent they have to do it. In fact, they would happily mortgage the house and spend that, too, if you are convincing enough.

So, when they ask me, should I spend [gobs of money] to [do five huge marketing projects]? I usually ask them a simple question back: “what if you did one? In fact, what if you did the first step of one of them?”

Most get this weird look in their eyes, as though I suggested that I don’t even believe in my own business. When I see this, I know that I can’t wait for them to respond, so I usually say something (that I hope is funny) like, “did you know that my second book is called Do It Wrong Quickly?

At this point, they usually crinkle their nose as if they just got whiff of a Port-a-John, and say, “but I don’t want to do it wrong.” I understand that. I don’t want to do it wrong either. It’s just that over many years I have come to accept that I usually do. Most of what I do it wrong. It’s not the best. If I had five tries at it, I would do it better.

That is actually what I want them to do. Do it wrong quickly, and then fix it. Fix it because after you do it, your customers will give you some idea as to whether it was any good or not.

So if you want to know if you should do a project with your agency to do 100 videos, I’ll say no. Do one. See how that works. Then do the next one. See if it is any better. Maybe after a dozen or so, you might start to see what works. Then you start doing them in bulk. But not before.

If you listen to what your customers want, you’ll suddenly start seeming like a genius.

If this is appealing to you, watch this space. On August 5, we’ll be launching my online agile marketing course to help you adopt this thinking as your own. I hope you will come back to check it out, but in the meantime you can receive the first unit free.

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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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