18 random thoughts about internet marketing

Ian Lurie

Chili? Really?
Bonus tip: Learning the difference between “Chile” and “Chili” is really helpful.

A little semi-random Wednesday thinking:

  1. Always ready our analytics reports. Understand them. Demand that someone make you understand them. Making business decisions without that knowledge will probably kill your company.
  2. Never buy a product with ‘Crusher’, ‘Disintegrator’ or ‘Miracle’ in the name. Anything invoking the elements, one god or another, or faster-than-light travel is also very likely bad.
  3. If someone calls themselves a ‘guru’, be suspicious. Same with ‘rockstar’. Aaron Kronis, one of my staff, gets a pass on this. He calls himself ‘SEO Rockstar’, but that’s because he really is a rockstar. He plays guitar.
  4. If a marketer opens his web site or proposal with a phrase like “In a world…” or “In the blink of an eye…” they’re a tool.
  5. Traditional agencies that try to move into internet marketing fail. They don’t just fail in a “oops” kind of way. They fail in a “Obi Wan just sliced off my arms and legs and left me cooking slowly next to a lava flow, only this time the Emperor isn’t coming to help me” kind of way.
  6. Internet marketing agencies that try to move into traditional marketing fail equally horrifically.
  7. You get what you pay for, not what you wish for.
  8. Your level of success is directly proportional to your level of cooperation.
  9. Your level of success is logarithmically proportional to your agency’s level of expertise.
  10. If you get ripped off, it’s partly your fault. You’re the one who ignored every sign that the guy charging 80% less was a fraud. You ignored the fact that the social media expert couldn’t write a coherent sentence. You’re the one who decided to offshore development to save money. Don’t be surprised when it’s a total flop.
  11. If you get ripped off, it’s not all your fault. Demand that someone who didn’t do their job make good. Don’t let mediocre work go. That just lowers the bar, worldwide. If US car manufacturers had followed this rule in the last 50 years, they’d still be on top.
  12. Internet marketing is not done in a vacuum. If weeks pass without a word from your agency, SEO team, or PPC folks, something’s wrong. They might be working hard. But somewhere about 3 days after your last meeting, they took a wrong turn. For the last 10 days, they’ve been helping you rank for “sarcastic rats” instead of “plastic mats”. You should probably check in.
  13. The latest thing is already dead, it just doesn’t know it yet. Chase it if you want, but when you catch it you’ll end up smelling vaguely… dead.
  14. People still buy what they want and reject what they don’t want. You’re a lot better off if you can provide the former.
  15. Make your password harder to guess than your last puppy’s name. Your password is your entire protection against the barbarian hordes. That one word can crush your entire career. Seriously.
  16. Companies that spend more than they earn generally have problems.
  17. Those who give guarantees are fools or liars. Unless they have a mind control device. Which would be pretty cool.
  18. Eventually, you have to stop researching, stop pondering, and do something.

Other stuff

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Desperate to know more on your thoughts about no. 5. I have my own, long held views but surely there’s got to come a point where it just becomes “marketing”, rather than online marketing?

  2. @Chris Definitely. But the biggest issue traditional agencies have is they think online is just a place to slap print art. And surprisingly, 10+ years into this, that has not changed.

  3. I am super guilty of #18. There are times when I get so deep into Analytics that I forget that I have to use that data for something. #17 is one of the things that worries me the most. It gives clients illusions that there are guarantees in the industry. Thanks for the list. I always enjoy your musings.

  4. Referring to #3, I agree with the two examples you shared but where’s the line when trying to identify yourself or your company as competent and capable of delivering results? I’d love to proudly exclaim that I’m an SEM Expert but I’m not. You’re way more of an expert than I am. And Rand Fishkin is more of an expert than you.
    How do you promote yourself and establish credibility without sounding like a self-inflated douchebag that probably won’t live up to expectations?

  5. @John That’s the whole key to marketing, isn’t it? It’s a constant, ongoing experiment to figure out how you sell yourself without selling yourself.
    For my part, I write a lot, obviously. I ask my clients, when they have a kind word, if I can share it with the world. I avoid comparison, because everyone has strengths and weaknesses: I may know more SEO than you, but chances are you’re far easier to work with. Rand knows far more SEO than I do, I’m sure, but I have a stronger grounding in basic marketing.
    There’s no easy answer, and there’s definitely no answer that applies to all cases. That’s what makes it fun, in my opinion, although I’m sure I grind my teeth as much as the next guy when someone writes on their web site that they’re the Greatest SEO Ever.

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