10 statements that make my head explode, and what they really mean
Ian Lurie Aug 4 2010
Every now and then, someone says something that passes cringe-worthy and goes straight to neural overload. At those times, I get a temporary case of Exploding Head Syndrome (it’s real). I’ll skip the political stuff like “Global warming isn’t real” and “Get your government hands off my Medicare” and stick to internet marketing:
Quote 1: “We don’t need the internet. We get all our business from direct mail.”
Really? Wow, you’re lucky. You’ve established that not one internet user could become a customer. That eliminates a big expense of, maybe, $200k/year. Except, of course, that direct mail costs at least $100k per sending.
What you really said: “I like burning my company’s money. The internet is scary. Plus, I have zero motivation to improve anything.”
Quote 2: “SEO? That’s a fiction. The search engines figure it all out. We’ll stick with PPC”
I thought I was the only person to hear this quote, but Vanessa Fox wrote about it in her book, Marketing in the Age of Google. So I’m in good company.
I’m so proud of you! In the face of overwhelming evidence that 85% of people who use a search engine click on the unpaid results, you’ve stuck to your guns. You’re going to ignore that 85%. That’ll show ‘em!
What you really said: “I also refute global warming, and believe firmly that T Rex used its teeth to crack coconuts in the Garden of Eden.”
Quote 3: “We won’t use Google Analytics, because they’ll spy on us.”
I sympathize with this one, but it’s hopeless. Google already knows everything about you. They have access to your domain registration information, PPC data, phone records, e-mail and anything else that passes through their wires. What possible difference does it make? Also, using analytics data to spy on you isn’t really worth the effort. Google can gain far more by combining your data with thousands of similar businesses and then looking at the aggregate. That’s anonymous, doesn’t hurt you, and is more useful to them.
What you really said: “I just figured out Google is spying on me!”
Quote 4: “Social media? If I can’t measure the ROI, I won’t do it.”
Good job. You’re making your CFO happy. Unfortunately, you’re also ignoring the place where more and more of your customers get together to talk about you. I doubt you tracked the ROI of answering the phone in your store/office. Nor did you track the ROI of customer service training for your staff. How exactly is this different?
What you really said: “If my customers go online but aren’t ready to buy, I don’t give a flying crap about them.”
Quote 5: “I don’t want comments on our web site. People might say bad things.”
I actually nearly swallowed a Coke can when I heard this. I was tilting my head back for one last delicious sip of the Nectar of Life (Diet Coke) when a VP of something-or-other threw out this bit of genius. My jaw dropped, and in one horrifying, uvula-flapping moment, I nearly ate an aluminum can. Which probably isn’t much worse for me than the Diet Coke.
Here’s the thing: People are already saying bad things about you, Mr. I-have-rat-turd-for-brains. They’re going to keep saying them. By shutting down comments on your own site, you do a great job of shoving those bad things out onto thousands of other web sites, where they’re harder to track down.
What you really said: Sound of crickets chirping
Quote 6: “We’re going to optimize our META keywords tags.”
OK, OK. Maybe you read a web site that someone hasn’t updated since 2003. Maybe someone you think is credible told you the keywords META tag matters. So I’ll take a deep breath and explain why the keywords META tag doesn’t matter any more, and we can go from there.
What you really said: “Someone who has no business in SEO gave me advice.”
Quote 7: “Our competitors have [insert web feature here], so we need to.”
So, you’re trying to beat your competitors by copying them? Shouldn’t we figure out if that feature actually helps, first? My… logic… centers… are burning out arrgh grok fooble mensch gibblegibbet flewb hrm bzzzzzt aauuuuuugh.
What you really said: Sorry, I can’t interpret. I’m lying on the floor in a puddle of drool.
Quote 8: “Sorry, the SEO changes just aren’t on our priority list.”
You’re the same person who told me everything has to have a measurable ROI. I just showed you the opportunity gap between the traffic you get now, and the traffic you could get later if you make these changes. But instead of making them, you’ve got your team working on a feature you tell me will yield no hard dollar results. I get it! This is a joke, isn’t it? Right? Sir?…
What you really said: “I flunked math.”
Quote 9: “We should send e-mail to every customer we’ve got. They’re customers. They won’t mind.”
What you really said: “I’ve always wanted to see how e-mail blacklists work.”
And, my favorite:
Quote 10: “$10,000 for a web site?! I can do it myself!”
Yep. And you can save a lot on dental work by doing it yourself, too. Enjoy.
What you really said: “I want to triple profits to $1.2 million, but I won’t invest .833% of that online.”
Phew. For a while there I thought the snark train had left the station. Apparently it’s back, though. I’m sure everyone’s just tickled pink.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More