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Digital marketing is less about knowledge than about bravery

I teach digital marketing to many different audiences each year, so you would think that I would place digital marketing knowledge at the top of the heap for leading to success. But I don’t. You see, after all these years, I have come to realize that overcoming your own fear of making a mistake is the most important characteristic of successful digital marketers.

Ten years ago, I wrote the first book on agile marketing, Do It Wrong Quickly. What I have come to realize was that the most important part of do it wrong quickly is the do it part. I thought that people needed to be told to do it wrong. I knew they needed the quickly part. I was wrong about both. But at least I learned that quickly. All right, it took ten years.

Most people don’t do it. They’re talking about it. They are about it. They think about it. But they don’t do it.

It’s fear. I thought it was fear of getting it wrong. Now, I think it is fear of doing it at all, because other people see what you did and have an opinion. We want so much not to be criticized that we would rather duck and cover than try. We are that controlled by what other people think that we’d rather do nothing.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of worrying about what others think, be willing to take a shot. And another. And another. And…another. The real secret to success is bravery. And resilience. The bravery to give it a try and the resilience to try again if it doesn’t work. It doesn’t take knowledge. It doesn’t take brains. It just takes the fearlessness of going for it. Anyone can do it. You just need to decide.

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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, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. 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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