Internet Marketing Is Risky
Ian Lurie Nov 5 2008
Internet marketing is not safe. No marketing is.
It’s risky because:
- You’re marketing to human beings. Human beings aren’t all that predictable, unless you throw a $100 bill in front of them, or light their shoes on fire.
- The world’s complicated. Markets implode. Hurricanes happen. Or someone with the same name as your product does something great and sends sales skyrocketing.
- You’re spending money that you can’t get back on something that can’t be guaranteed.
It doesn’t matter. You still have to do it. You have to take risks, and risk being wrong, if you’re going to get it right once in a while.
So, a few suggestions for all you folks who ask me things like “Can you guarantee you’ll triple my sales?” and “How do I know it’ll work?”:
- Understand that this is an experiment. We will test and observe. If one campaign fails, we still learn and are better prepared for the next one.
- Preserve a margin for error. If you’re one failed campaign away from bankruptcy, something is wrong at a deeper level than your marketing. Step back and assess.
- Prepare to adapt. Here’s a test: Can you get a basic change made to the text on one page of your site in less than 2 hours? If you answer “yes”, great. If you answer “It takes IT 3 days”, you’re screwed. Sorry.
- Collect data. Document everything. Use everything as a learning experience.
- If you fail, study, learn and start again.
- Ask for advice! There are lots of people (like me) who will happily give out advice (to a point). Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Yeah, I’ll try to sell you services, or at least a book, but I’ll give you advice, too.
- Realize it will never ‘settle down’. Marketing has never been consistent. There’s no one system that works. In fact, marketing is a bit like 15 little kids at a birthday party, all hyped up on cake and soda pop. They may laugh, cry or tear your house down. So you need to be ready to smile, hug or put them in restraints. But I digress…
- It’s fun! Internet marketing is the best game on earth. You get to try stuff, measure and try again so fast it’ll make your head spin. And success is nearly inevitable, as long as you try again.
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