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What is holding you back in digital marketing?

My days are divided between teaching professionals how to change their careers and teaching companies how to change their cultures–both of whom want to embrace digital marketing. But it takes more than giving it a big hug. I actually find that attitudes are the most important thing to change in both cases.

Here are a few attitudes that often get in the way:

  • I don’t have enough expertise. It’s scary to try something new, so it is natural for you to want to learn more, but digital marketing is constantly changing, and the best way to learn it is to try it. If you screw it up the first time, join the club. You didn’t ride a bicycle the first time you got on. You’ll survive the career version of a skinned knee as well.
  • I don’t have enough time. Actually, the only thing we all have the same amount of is time–we are each assigned 24 hours every day. When you say that you don’t have enough time for something new, you are really saying that you are already spending your time doing all the right things. But if you aren’t focusing on digital, that can’t be right.
  • I don’t have enough resources. No one does. And everyone does. Maybe start with free tactics, such as social engagement or SEO. After you start to show some results with free stuff, you can convince folks to give you money.
  • I don’t have enough power. Don’t feel empowered? You’re not alone. It requires some bravery to step out and do something new, but there is no other way to shift to digital marketing. Try to start with small risks that you can apologize for, rather than huge risks that you really need permission for. And try to pick things that you can change back if it doesn’t work. Amazon can change a font at breakfast and know if it was a good idea by lunch–if not, they change it back.
  • I don’t have enough analytics. This one is understandable, too. If you don’t trust the numbers, how can you know if you made the right decision? Some would argue that you must wait until the numbers are more accurate before experimenting, but I disagree. The fastest way to get support for improving the analytics system is to start making decisions based on the inaccurate numbers–they will be very interested in improving the accuracy.

It’s hard to change, but digital marketing requires that we do it constantly. Check your attitudes and see if any of them are getting in your way.

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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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