10 things I’d like to hear more often

Ian Lurie

I’m trying to become a more positive guy. So instead of a post like ‘10 things that make me weep for the species,’ or ‘10 reasons I want to swallow an HDMI adapter,’ I’m going with things I’d like to hear. Woo hoo! It’s Positive Monday!

Note: These are my bad habits, too. I write these from personal experience on both sides.

  1. “We’ve been tracking the same conversions for 3 years.” Imagine mowing your lawn while it grows an inch a minute. It never ends. You just keep starting over, and over… If you change conversions tracked every 2 months, it’s very hard to tell what’s working. Your team has to start over and over. Set goals, then stick with them. You can add, of course. Just don’t delete existing tracking.
  2. “Attribution is a fuzzy science.” Sitting in a room trying to explain that yes, social media did contribute to sales is aggravating. Particularly when common sense agrees. To all the companies out there saying they provide ‘precise attribution tracking,’ I say, ‘you lie.’ All you’re doing is setting absurd expectations. Set expectations that no model is perfect.
  3. “Yes, you can edit that.” I’ve never seen a content management system (CMS) that couldn’t implement basic best practices. I have seen awful implementations. If writers can’t edit a title tag, add bullets or just add some text to the damned page, please, don’t blame the CMS.
  4. “Forget rank tracking.” In the past few years, I’ve watched clients search twice for one phrase and get two completely different results. With personalized search, localized search and search-based-on-what-you-just-ate-for-breakfast, tracking rankings is patently ridiculous. Track share of voice, instead.
  5. “I’ll check our pay-per-click reports every week.” If I want to drive my team crazy, all I have to do is stand behind them, questioning everything they do, every three seconds. Shocking, right? Well, nothing kills a PPC campaign faster than a boss or client looking at the account every hour, then calling in a panic. Let the team do their thing. Now, if only I could do that.
  6. “What do you think, Ms./Mr. UX expert?” Why do web sites that win design awards rarely stick around? Most get redesigned within a year. There’s a reason: Pretty doesn’t automatically mean good. Can we all please admit that we build stuff for users and User Experience is kind of important?
  7. “Show me the good stuff!” More crap isn’t better. It just requires a bigger poop bag. Instead of writing 7 blog posts a week, get your team to produce one truly spectacular, useful thing every month. Fill in the gaps with truly useful shortform content. Set expectations around quality, not quantity.
  8. “I mean it…” When you say ‘build top-of-funnel’ one week, then demand conversion data for every page of your site the next, you make marketers crazy. When you say ‘launch the minimum viable product,’ then reprimand the team for missing features, you make them paranoid. Be consistent.
  9. “I edited this.” Intelligent people writing badly cramp my frontal lobe. Stop throwing awful prose over the wall. Read it with a critical eye. Then ask your boss/client to read it. Yes, I’m a writing snob. But it is how we communicate. Can we all do it well? Please?
  10. “Let me think about that.” Self-explanatory.

Leave what you’d like to hear below:

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 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

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action


  1. My addition to the list would be “I don’t know.” Some people find it almost impossible to confess their ignorance, but then go on to demonstrate it anyway by babbling on. But often, not knowing can be a positive thing – especially if you know who does know, or how you might be able to find out. Admitting you don’t know is the first step in plugging a gap in your knowledge. Clearly there are things that you should know in order to do your job, but no one is an expert on everything and BS can only take you so far.

    1. Well, I have no problem being ready for the day ahead, that’s for sure.
      I actually use a spreadsheet to track share of voice. I’ll be writing a post on it soon.

  2. Ugh, please please please #8 for all of my clients. Top of funnel is TOP OF FUNNEL, NOT CONVERSIONS! lkjkslkdjfsldkjf! 🙂 Thanks for the list, Ian.

Comments are closed.

Close search overlay