Internet Marketing is like HiDef TV

Ian Lurie

This weekend, my wife and I bought a flat-screen, LCD TV set. Hard to believe, but Ian Lurie, ubergeek, has never owned a TV larger than 36″, and hasn’t bought a TV since 2002.
We got it home, did all the hookup stuff. Turned on the TV. And our jaws dropped.
It is impossible to describe what hi-definition TV looks like. I’ve had people tell me. I’ve even seen it in stores. But until it’s sitting in your house, and you can pick out every hair on House’s stubbly face, you don’t understand.
Someone gave me all the data about 1080p and 120hz and LED backlighting. That didn’t hurt. But I still didn’t get it.
Most of the folks I talk to about Internet marketing don’t get it, either. That’s not a slap at them. It’s just a fact of life in a complex, sometimes arcane business.
I spend at least 75% of my working day persuading.
Persuading the developers to make a change for the sake of SEO.
Persuading a CEO to invest in content.
Persuading a potential client that yes, it is worth an extra 20% to just. have. everything. right. when your new site launches.
In short, persuading clients and prospects that a quality Internet marketing campaign, where everything just falls into place, will blow everything else they’ve ever seen clean out of the water.
You get the picture.
Actually, you don’t.
You can’t.
Because Internet marketing really is like hidef TV. Until you’ve seen it in action in your own business, on your own site, it’s impossible to understand.
That’s not the client’s fault, or the prospect’s problem. It’s my problem. If you’re an SEO, or a marketer, or a designer, it’s your problem, too.
Somehow, we have to find a way to show our clients what hidef TV is like, without putting it in their living room. I’ll keep working on that.
OK, enough navel-gazing for today…

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Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, 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. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. Good analogy, taking it a step further – my personal attitude towards HD is I know it’s good but I already have a 32″ LCD which I paid £800 for 3 years ago – so HD, I want it, but not sure I need it given my previous investment.
    We see many SEO clients in the same boat – they have already invested some money into SEO, not got the results they thought they would, but did see some return and as such are reluctant to invest in what they need to achieve top rankings/exposure and are fairly happy with what they’ve got (but they’ve seen the HD TV and they want that quality, given they invested in a new TV already).
    I think that makes sense, does to me anyway 🙂

  2. Great post. I’m the manager of internet marketing at my company and I just gave a presentation last week to the entire company describing why it is a good thing that our pages are showing up first on google results! There are still those who don’t believe it’s a good thing. Glad to know I’m not the only one…

  3. Very good comparison. Sometimes we have to work as hard as the salesperson in BestBuy to convince the customer they need this. It’s just a matter of presentation I guess.

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