The secret to internet marketing success? ‘Because I said so’
Ian Lurie May 23 2011
I’m going to let you in a secret. It’s the One Big Thing you have to know if you’re going to run an internet marketing campaign.
Sometimes, you have to say ‘Because I said so’.
Part of leadership is willingness to go out on a limb—to make a decision that isn’t supported by consensus or reams of data.
There are times when you just know, in your gut, that you’re right. If you’re the copywriter in the fourth cubicle to the left and happy with that, you don’t have to do anything about it. If you’re heading up a marketing team, though, you have to follow your gut and take your team with you.
That’s how you take your company in a direction that no one else thought would work, and turn that into a huge, market-changing event. It’s how you give clients a competitive advantage. It’s how you fix bayonets and charge at the worst possible moment, and win the battle.
You can go with the group. Or you can say ‘Because I said so’.
Is it risky? Hell yes. When it goes wrong it’s damned embarrassing, too. You might get fired. It’s scary.
Deal with it. Internet marketing isn’t about the data—if it was, then we could have computers do it all.
Internet marketing is about creativity. Data helps only because it can guide creativity. You won’t always have reports that tell you exactly what to do. Sometimes the survey data is contradictory; the traffic report is incomplete; or the rest of your team interprets the numbers differently.
That’s really scary. That means you have to take responsibility for whatever you decide. If you flush an entire internet marketing strategy down the toilet, it’s on your head.
Hopefully, that’s why you wanted to be in charge—you want to take the risk, because you know something really cool can come of it.
Because you said so.
Couple of final notes:
I’m assuming, of course, that you’re in charge because you’ve got the expertise. You’ve put in the 10,000+ hours to really know what you’re doing. If you don’t, then saying ‘Because I said so’ may feel good right now, but you’re probably leading your whole team down a rat hole. You’re just guessing and hoping you’re right. That’s not leadership—that’s arrogant stupidity.
I’m also assuming that you heard everyone out before you made your decision. Most people can take rejection, if they had their say. If they can’t handle it, this is a good chance for them to learn. If you just punt them out the door without listening to their ideas, though, all you’re teaching them is that you’re a jerk.
And now, I’m off to bed. To lie awake for awhile, scared poopless over whatever I did today based on my own ‘Because I said so’.
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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