The 10 Stupidest Marketing Mistakes I’ve Ever Made
Ian Lurie Oct 19 2010
This may surprise you, but I tend to dwell on the negative. Here are the ten cringe-inducers I spend the most time pondering. In chronological order, no less:
- 1990. I went to law school. OK, it wasn’t a marketing mistake, but it cost me several layers of stomach lining. Law school also nearly killed my ability to write.
- 1995. I decide to start Portent Interactive, but name it The Written Word. For the next 5 years, people ask me if I print bibles (I was going for Shakespeare).
- 1995. I test my first web crawler on the network of a client (with their permission). I crash the network and earn myself the title “Bringer of Death” from the head of IT.
- 1998. I aim Portent at client service, instead of affiliate marketing, thinking the search engines will kill the whole spam thing within a year. I think I had a head injury.
- 1999. For reasons I still don’t understand, I sell my company. The next 8 months include a bout of pneumonia, total professional melt-down and at least one instance where I witnessed one of my new fellow employee groping a receptionist in the hallway. I don’t know either.
- 2000. Back on my own again, with zero confidence, I sell my services for something under $30/hour, and can’t figure out why I can’t make a living.
- 2000. I decide pay per click is a flash in the pan (really) and advise 3 clients to skip it before one of my staff slaps me so hard my eyes rattle against the back of my skull.
- 2004. A company offers us cash plus stock to do a project. I accept it. I still have the stock certificate as a placemat.
- 2007. Thinking I can Be The Hero, I take on an entire development project on my own. The result resembles three spastic ferrets in a blender. My staff bails me out.
- 2010. I lose my temper with a client. Justified? I dunno. But the fallout is personally and professionally excruciating. We’re only human, but the lesson, as always, is to take a walk before you talk. We’ve since begun working together again.
And yet, Portent’s going well (knock wood) and we’re all still here. I think there’s a lesson there…
Nothing related at all
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CEO & Founder
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.