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Is your marketing running on excuses?

One of my daughters was in her first year of college when she spoke to her professor about how to turn in her assigned essay outside of his class. The teacher assured her she could come to his office later that day, and if he wasn’t there, that she should just slip it under his office door. My daughter arrived later at his office, knocked to see if he was there and then heard a loud angry growl from behind the door. At that point, my daughter questioned whether it was safe to slip the homework under the door. She didn’t want to become the first student to give her teacher the excuse, “YOUR dog ate my homework.”

I thought of that incident while working with a client recently, because I have become convinced that they are running their company on excuses. No matter what they do, when it doesn’t work, they had a ready reason. Now, that can be great, because if you understand the reason something failed, you can fix it. But not in this case. They just rationalize why it didn’t work and they go off and try something else. When that doesn’t work, then they have another excuse.

As the author of Do It Wrong Quickly, I am not trying to say that everything should always work. Far from it. But when it doesn’t result in accountability, it has no purpose. We all must use metrics to measure our success in every form of marketing, and when we fall short, we can’t be using rationalizations to excuse the failure–instead we must keep changing what we are doing to try again until we succeed.

That might require a change to your company culture to focus on how to improve rather than reasons we are not responsible for failure. If you can’t make that shift, you might find that the world of big data is leaving you behind, because you can’t use the analytics to see where you are, much less change.

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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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