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Don’t you just love it when you learn something accidentally? I sure do, because those brushes with serendipity can have a huge impact on your long-term success.

Let me explain what I mean by sharing a quick story:

Some time ago, I was approached by some colleagues in charge of managing of a different part of HSN’s digital business. They felt that there was a lot of opportunity to leverage SEO – one of the channels that I manage – in order to drive incremental revenue and market penetration. I agreed, and decided to pitch in some of my marketing budget in order to bring in a new vendor that could help capture some of that SEO opportunity for this particular portion of the business.

To be fair, I felt that there was something in it for me (e.g. generating incremental natural search revenue in aggregate) and so I didn’t think much about sharing my resources. However, what I didn’t realize at the time was how this relatively small sharing gesture would result in a significant surge in collaboration, implementation, and general advocacy on the part of this particular division. In fact, the amount of effort and emphasis that this group provided extended beyond SEO and into one of the other channels that I manage.

And the result has been obvious lift in ROI for both of these channels as well as a much stronger sense of rapport between my team and this parallel business group.

I share this because it frankly had not occurred to me that the simple act of sharing resources could have such a profound reciprocal impact. And looking back, I’ve come to realize that this phenomenon is not simply limited to sharing marketing budget. It could be sharing an agency resource, or helping build a presentation, or sharing employee or intern resources, etc.

I think that a lot of us marketers get stuck in the weeds of tactical implementation and strategic planning. That creates the potential for a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to allocating resources (e.g. what can we do to support and grow our own channels). If you fear that you might perhaps be falling victim to this mindset, take a moment to step back and think through ways that you and your team can add value to your counterparts within the organization (and if you’re on the agency or freelance side of the coin, advise your clients to do so).

As I recently found out, this can pay huge dividends when your counterparts decide to return the favor.

 

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Warning: The following advise is for advanced paid search marketers only. Attempting to implement this strategy prematurely can result in losing your shirt (and maybe even your job or small business).

One of the things I’ve always found fascinating is the contrast between how paid search budgets are managed by smaller businesses and how they’re managed at the enterprise level.

Small business owners very cost conscious, and for good reason, since their cash flow and credit is typically limited.  Therefore, many small business paid search programs are focused on not exceeding budget caps. This often results in paid search programs that develop a bit of tunnel vision in that the main goal becomes getting the maximum number of relevant paid search clicks possible within a given spend budget. So for example, if a company determines that the most they can spend per day is $100, the paid search program is focused on getting the most clicks possible for that $100 expenditure.

That can actually work fairly well to a certain extent, but it’s very different than what typically occurs at the enterprise level.

Enterprise brands that focus on direct response (e.g. lead generation, e-commerce, or trackable brick-and-mortar sales) tend to spend much less time (if any) adhering to a hard budget cap. Instead, they typically take a much more financially nuanced approach.

For starters, enterprise paid search channels (along with most if not all other channels) are viewed through the lens of both historical performance trends and forecasting future performance. In other words, these companies have a very strong grasp on how quickly the program is growing year-over-year and they attempt to use that historical trend data along with other variables to predict how much growth will occur future. So for example, if the company made $50,000,000 in 2009 and $55,000,000 in 2010 and $60,500,000 in 2011, then the company knows that the program has grown by 10% year-over-year for two years in a row. It can now use that information to figure out the amount of growth it should see in 2012.

But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. These companies will perform similar financial analysis on the spend side of the ledger. In other words, they’ll take steps to understand how much money was spent in prior years and use that to figure out how much should be spent moving forward.

And this naturally leads to the concepts like efficiency and and the point of diminishing returns.

If you know how much you’ve spent and made in prior years (this is year-over-year analysis is often broken down by month) you can figure out how efficient your spend has been (e.g. you made $5 for every $1 you spent) and you can use that information to try and peg the optimal spend allocation and corresponding efficiency level moving forward

This is easier said than done because there are a lot of variables that can impact how your paid search program performs (competitive bidding, conversion rate fluctuations, product assortment, public relations and customer service issues, economic factors, etc.) but the goal is to try and figure out an efficiency level that allows you to make a healthy net profit while also ensuring that you have maximum share of voice (another important metric that many smaller businesses overlook) and grab the maximum amount of revenue available for the given time period.

I know from experience that overestimating how your program is going to perform (e.g. overestimating how increasing spend will impact your efficiency) can result in going beyond the point of diminishing returns and essentially wasting a lot of money. Large organizations can easily absorb this cost because it’s typically a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things and can actually help improve future forecasting.

Small businesses typically don’t have the same luxury.

That said, if you do have a bit of a cushion and are looking to take your paid search advertising strategy to the next level, I encourage you to look into the concepts I’ve outlined above. Doing so will help you ensure that you’re not leaving money on the table.

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This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. Because it’s been a long work week, because my two-year old wore me out this evening, and because tomorrow morning it’s my turn to pick up bagels for our weekly digital marketing bagel breakfast.

But just because it’s a short post doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable one.

I’ve talked about attribution in the past, with a focus on attributing conversions to the various channels that make up an enterprise marketing program. Today, I’m actually just going to focus on attribution within one specific marketing channel; paid search advertising. Traditionally, paid search advertising effectiveness has been judged based on last-click attribution. What that basically means is that you give the final click 100% of the credit for a conversion event. That basically means that any other marketing or advertising touches (e.g. a display ad view, organic search click, email open, etc.) that might have occurred prior to the conversion event gets zero credit for said conversion.

Innovative marketers are beginning to experiment with other types of attribution models, including first-click (e.g. giving the first marketing touch 100% of the credit) equal-weighting (e.g. each touch gets some credit) and several other variations.

One nuance that even these forward-thinking marketers sometimes overlook is the idea of taking a specific range of paid search program data (let’s say a month for the sake of example) and performing a comparative analysis to see how individual keywords in the portfolio perform when viewed through the last-click lens vs. the first-click lens. By doing this, you’re able to very quickly isolate things like:

1) The number of keywords (and amount of spend) that doesn’t drive any conversions regardless of whether viewed via the first-click or last-click attribution lens. This can be a powerful tool for evaluating the long-tail portion of the program, which is notoriously difficult to audit due to the relatively low amount of clicks and impressions that occur on a keyword-by-keyword basis

2) Identify keywords that appear to be wildly inefficient when viewed through the last-click lens, but actually result in a decent number of conversions when viewed through the first-click lens. This is particularly valuable for evaluating the effectiveness of expensive, top-of-the-funnel, head terms that often don’t result in an immediate conversion but can often be the “opener” for a consumer that’s still in the consideration phase and may have not thought to consider your brand had he/she not seen and clicked on your paid search ad.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with first vs. last-click attribution data just within the paid search channel. So if you’re running paid search for an organization or managing multiple paid search clients as part of an agency or freelance offering, make sure to delve into the possibilities that this type of attribution analysis can provide.

Implementing this type of analytics methodology can and does pay huge dividends for enterprising digital marketers.

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Last week, my buddy John Doherty posed a great follow-up question to my post on how diplomacy often trumps technical ability. Simply put, he asked me how I go about building a foundation for said diplomacy when I begin work with a new brand. Fortunately for me, I recently started working with HSN, so the memory is fresh in my mind.

Step 1 actually begins before you agree to work with a company (and this is true regardless of whether you’re looking at an in-house position or an agency/freelance client). I spent well over a month evaluating HSN to figure out if it truly had the type of culture that would facilitate the various facets of both SEO and paid search (I manage both sides of the search coin for them). Only after I spoke with enough internal stakeholders and read up on their recent history and executive leadership did I finally decide to take the plunge. And four months in, it seems to me that my skeptical and measured approach to evaluating the company has definitely been rewarded. It’s been a fantastic work experience!

Step 2 is all about making connections. I spent about 50-75% of the first month of employment reaching out to stakeholders and setting up intro meetings, lunches, etc. Since HSN is an online retailer we have a ton of merchandising stakeholders, each of which required individual attention. And there’s also the PR team, the social team, the analytics team, the dev team, the executive team (both on the digital side of the business and the traditional TV network side). Oh, and let’s not forget about finance, accounting, legal, tax compliance. And how could I forget the various existing agencies, and our Google reps, and, well, you get the picture. Like an old buddy of mine used to say, it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.

Step 3 is about asking the right questions and getting the right data. Interestingly, these two things are sometimes one and the same. One of the first things I did (and always tried to do when I was on the agency side) is request access to our analytics data. If/when we didn’t have certain data segments that might be useful, I started to inquire about what it would take to get them.

I also spent a lot of time asking my analysts and other cross-functional colleagues about the lay of the land. What was my predecessor like? Why did he leave? Who’s into SEO. Who’s doesn’t have a clue or a care about it? What do the executives like?  What do they not like? Who really calls the shots? What pitfalls should I avoid to stay out of hot water? How much appetite for risk is there? Frankly, this is an ongoing initiative, and I’m constantly learning new things about the history of the company, the future plans of key stakeholders, and for that matter, about other key stakeholders I didn’t even know existed (HSN is a pretty big organization).

Step 4 is well, the technical stuff. What’s really wrong with the site? What does the content and link landscape look like? Is there a major site redesign or migration on the horizon? I didn’t get into this aspect of my job in earnest until well after a month of being at the company. Why? Because the way I figure, I’ve got plenty of time to crystallize my viewpoint on what needs to be fixed and what the short and long-term opportunities are.

But I only get one shot to make a remarkable first impression with the myriad of colleagues that will ultimately ensure that my search program is a smashing success.

I hope this helps, and if you have any follow-up questions, please don’t hesitate to share them via the comment section below.

 

 

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Just wanted to share that for the umpteenth time in my career, my direct experience is once again confirming that diplomacy trumps technical skill when it comes ensuring long-term SEO success.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting that any palooka off the street can succeed at SEO. Having at least a decent understanding of the fundamental underpinnings of natural search are still a prerequisite. However, more often than not, it’s the ability to collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders that makes the difference between mediocrity and rock start status.

Moreover, this key skill is required at all three core facets of SEO:

  • Technical SEO
  • Link Building (and yes, I’m lumping “SEO friendly” social content marketing in this bucket)
  • Analytics

At the technical level, diplomacy can be the difference between getting your page, site, and server-level recommendations implemented quickly versus waiting weeks if not months (maybe even years in some extreme cases) for the dev/IT team to “get around to that SEO stuff.” It can also be the difference between getting looped in at the most preliminary stages of a major site redesign or CMS migration versus finding out about these initiatives midstream (or worse yet, after they’ve already been completed!).

As far as analytics is concerned, the value of diplomacy is inversely correlated with the size of the company involved. With smaller companies the SEO can often have direct control over analytics implementation as well as direct access to analysis via Google Analytics. At larger organizations, that precious SEO data can be a lot hard to access, particularly if said company is using more complicated analytics platforms like Omniture or Coremetrics. And when this is indeed the case, diplomacy can be the difference between getting direct access and setting up the necessary SEO-centric reporting dimensions versus performing SEO with a blindfold on.

I left link building for last because in my experience, it is where diplomacy is absolutely critical, particularly when dealing with enterprise-caliber brands. For starters, diplomacy is one of the skills that facilitates effective link building outreach. You have to get along with bloggers and webmasters in order to build the relationships that lead to inbound links.

But that’s 101 stuff.

The real heavy lifting occurs in terms of building the diplomatic ties that facilitate the kind of large-scale, authoritative link building activities that not only lead to an unassailable SEO advantage but can also set the stage for success in parallel channels like social media and public relations. But building these stakeholder ties is often fraught with all sorts of communication hurdles and bureaucratic red tape. It can require getting face time with and approval from:

  • the social media team
  • the PR team
  • the brand marketing team
  • the copy/content team
  • the merchant team (if you work for a retail brand)
  • the dev/IT team
  • the legal team
  • the tax liability team
  • the finance team
  • the executive team
You get the picture.
The good news is that if you can run this labyrinth while simultaneously lining up the the right talent (either internally or via agency partners) to produce the content, identify the link prospects, and effectively build relationships with those link prospects via that aforementioned content, it will only be a matter of time before you build the kind of SEO authority that is immune to the ups and downs of search engine algorithm updates and actually helps buoy parallel marketing channels at the same time.
And in my experience, there’s nothing more satisfying and ROI friendly than executing SEO without the need to chase any algos and with the full, top-down support of your organization.

 

 

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Do you love SEO and feel like you could dive its depths for the rest of your career? Do you think email marketing is your long-term career destiny? Do you thoroughly enjoy display media planning and think it’s a great fit for you? Do you believe that social media is the place to be both now and in the future?

That’s cool with me, because there’s nothing wrong with endless passion and deep expertise. However, in my experience, it pays to branch out from your core discipline and diversify your portfolio of marketing knowledge.

Mind you, it’s not just about job security, though having more than one feather in your cap can definitely open up doors in the corporate world. Rather, the reason for the recommendation has to do with what diversification can do to your overall marketing perspective.

Here’s why and how:

  • For starters, with every passing day, many of the supposedly silo disciplines that we know and love become increasingly intertwined with other supposedly silo disciplines. Want to be a successful SEO? You’d be have a fairly deep understanding of social media, PR, and coding among other things. Want to grow your brand’s social media following? You’d better learn how to properly leverage email segmentation and messaging in order to usher your existing customers into your social media community elements. And so on, and so forth.
  • As multi-channel attribution develops and matures as a discipline, the ties between channels will become more evident and success in one will be dependent on alignment with the others. For example, my brand’s attribution insights are helping us recognize just how integral parallel marketing channels can be in terms of maximizing the revenue we generate via paid search. In other words, it would be virtually impossible to maximize ROI in one of the channels I directly manage (paid search) if I didn’t have an intimate understanding of what was happening in several parallel channels that I don’t manage directly.
  • Working closely with other channels and their corresponding stakeholders helps you develop a healthy respect and admiration, and that in turn, often results in a more empathetic and less contentious approach to dealing with those stakeholders, even when you’re reasonable certain that your point of view is the right one. And guess what? You get more bees honey then vinegar.

In a nutshell, what I’m saying is that educating, and in some cases, immersing yourself in channels outside of your main discipline can actually make you more of an expert in your main discipline. It sounds like a paradox, I know. But those that have experienced this phenomenon in action know that I speak the truth.

If you’ve been enveloped and consumed by your marketing channel of choice up until this point, give this approach a try. You might like the effect it has on your marketing world view as well as the effect it has on your channel’s marketing ROI.

 

 

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One of the reasons that I chose to leave the fast-paced agency life in favor of an in-house gig was the promise of getting a much deeper perspective on the business of marketing.

What I mean by that is while agency folk swear that they’re super strategic and 100% aligned with your broader business initiatives, the reality is that they must necessarily be focused on a broad number of clients and verticals. That can be a beautiful thing because it gives you tremendous perspective on how different types of business work and how that, in turn, impacts marketing strategy.

However, I remember from my last in-house stint – at CBS back in 2004-2005 – that working for a single brand requires a much deeper, integral understanding of the business and the myriad of key stakeholders that make that business go. Without that business acumen and counterpart buy-in your strategic approach to marketing for said brand is destined to fail regardless of which channel(s) you’re focused on (though in my experience, this is most evident when working with cross-functional channels like search and social).

So far, my experience at HSN has proven to be very much in line with that expectation. I’ve had to learn about all manner of brand and product assortments, from Dysons to dress shops. I’ve also had to build relationships with fellow marketing team members (digital and traditional) public relations staff, merchants, brand reps, senior execs, celebrity spokespeople, finance, legal, accounting, accounts payable, and, well, you get the picture.

And this has taught me a very valuable lesson about one of the fundamental elements of marketing strategy. Sometimes, being strategic simply means knowing what to keep in and what to leave out.

To help illustrate what I mean, I’ll pick one of the channels that I manage:

Every day (no seriously, every day) my SEO analyst identifies some interesting technical manifestation that prevents us from maximizing ROI for one of the thousands of revenue-generating keywords we manage (and that doesn’t even count that hundreds of thousands of potential revenue generating keywords that are on the back burner to a certain extent).

And every day, I must make a decision as to whether the day’s particular manifestation is worth fully exploring or should be put on that ever-growing back burner of opportunities. Mind you, it’s not that we don’t want to address every single one of these issues. It’s just that even with the help of a powerful SEO automation platform, several solid agency partners, and one of the most nimble dev staffs I’ve ever worked with we still don’t have enough bandwidth to tackle everything.

So instead, we started by writing down (and this is important, it can’t just be in your head) a fundamental strategic plan for 2012, and now it’s my job to make sure that my analysts, partners, colleagues (and myself) focus on the tactics and execution elements that will help fulfill that plan. Moreover, even though I created the plan in the first place, I often reach out to my boss for guidance and a fresh perspective, so that I can make sure that I’m on track and not veering of the path that was set several months ago.

For some of you reading this, the preceding advice will seem like a given. For others, it will seem way too rigid, bureaucratic, and for lack of a better word, corporate.

If you fall into the latter category, I implore you to take this strategic approach for a spin. You may just find that while ideas and opportunities are always abundant, the ability to properly decide which to keep and which to set aside can be a source of tremendous, measurable ROI.

 

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I’ve had some interesting conversations with my dad over the years, and one of the most memorable and recurring topics has to do with my current profession.

I’ve been working on enterprise online marketing programs for nearly a decade now, and while I enjoy the immense challenge that the ever-shifting sands of the internet provide as well as the fairly solid compensation this growing field has afforded me there has always been a lingering concern that has haunted me from time to time. That concern has to do with the fact that, at times, I have helped market brands and products that aren’t exactly benevolent in nature (some financial and pharmaceutical outfits from my agency days immediately come to mind).

My father – who busted his butt selling cars for 40 years to support our family – insists that my first concern should be ensuring the financial security of my wife and young son. Moreover, he explains that the world is far from perfect and that I’m not ultimately responsible for all of the good or bad actions of a large organization. I understand where he’s coming from, since he’s basically a first-generation immigrant who committed himself to doing whatever it took to provide a better life for me, but for some reason, I’m simply incapable of fully accepting his point of view.

Fortunately, I’ve landed at an organization that while admittedly a fierce, consumer-minded, online shopping machine is also an organization that sports a huge corporate heart. In just a few short months I’ve witnessed them giving a large award to an employee that had the moral fiber to return a diamond wedding ring to a customer that had accidentally dropped said ring into a return box. I’ve also discovered that they made a commitment to creating a work-at-home program for customer service reps, which allows them to have additional flexibility in their lives while simultaneously allowing the corporation to cut costs and thereby keep said customer service jobs in the US instead of outsourcing them. Lastly, I’m set use one of two dedicated “community service” PTO days to give back to the community, on HSN’s dime.

Mind you, my current employer is not the only company with a story worth believing in. I’ve come across many over the years. One that often comes to mind is Stihl power tools. I can’t speak for their German world headquarters, but I can tell you that their US operation is one of the most well-run organizations I’ve ever come across. And perhaps more importantly, they are one of the most humane operations I’ve ever seen. They’re fiercely loyal to their employees, treat their regional dealers like family, obsess over picking agency partners that will stay onboard for life, and support a variety of extremely noble initiatives.

So what’s this have to do with marketing strategy you ask?

Well it’s simple. For starters, it’s much easier to get motivated to come to work in the morning (and stay late at night) when you believe in the brand you work for. And just in case that’s not enough for you, the secondary benefit is that companies with this altruistic ethic facilitate successful marketing.

It’s a lot easier to execute successful multi-channel marketing campaigns and build social and SEO authority when the organization you’re promoting is involved in beautiful campaigns like Pitney Bowes’ Holiday Mail for Heroes (a joint venture with the Red Cross) and are generally admired for their approach to treating their employees and the community at large.

On the flip side, achieving successful results is a hell of a lot harder when your brand is responsible killing things or oppressing entire communities or nations (and no, I’m not going to link to specific examples. If you’re curious do some research and find out who some of the real bad guys are).

Granted, I understand that my dad’s advise is valuable, because not everyone can afford to work in a virtuous industry or for a virtuous company. At the end of the day, you have to do whatever it takes to move forward and support yourself and your loved ones.

However, if you’re faced with the choice, always opt for the brand you can believe in. It will be easier to achieve long-term marketing ROI, and if you’re like me, you’ll likely have the added benefit of sleeping a whole lot better at night.

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I’m on vacation this week, hitting the slopes in Colorado and hanging out with a bunch friends. The point of the trip is to disconnect a bit and clear mind of marketing-think, so that I can return to my duties at HSN with renewed vigor.

But sure enough, despite the fact that none of my fellow travelers work in marketing, the topic has come up time and again.

One idea that stood out had to do with re-targeting/re-marketing via display ads. I’ve met many marketers that shy away from this technique because they fear that it will turn off their site visitors or flat out creep them out. After all, which one of us hasn’t felt a little bit uneasy once we’ve realized that a site we’ve recently visited is all of sudden following us around the internet and serving display ads virtually everywhere that we go.

Here’s the thing, though. Based on my unscientific poll that I’ve conducted during this vacation, it’s apparent that the average non-marketer has no idea that display re-targeting exists. Moreover, even after the concept has been explained, they don’t seem very concerned about it at all.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting that you use my little vacation anecdote as your sole justification for implementing a re-targeting program. What I am suggesting, however, is that you test out a few campaigns to see how they perform. This is especially true if your marketing programs are geared towards generating direct, online conversions. It’s highly unlikely that you will turn off any potential consumers. Instead, what will mostly happen is that you’ll bring back visitors that may have come close to converting their first time around and just didn’t pull the trigger for one reason or another.

If your product/service is a good one, your site visitors will likely appreciate being reminded about it from time to time. And unlike many of us day-to-day marketers, they won’t spend anytime contemplating the technological underpinnings or privacy implications of  said re-targeting efforts.

So don’t feel so bad, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, educate yourself and your team then take re-targeting for a test drive to see if the ROI make it’s a worthwhile long-term endeavor.

 

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Last week, I focused on the idea that you don’t know what you don’t know, and that therefore, it’s important to keep an open mind in order to avoid stagnation in your marketing strategy.

This week, a blog post from one of the most well-respected marketers in the world seems to have lent credence to my assertion.

Here’s what happened:

I decide to check my Twitter stream and come across retweet that reads “Doing it wrong, relentlessly” and links to a blog post on Seth Godin’s blog.

Now for those that don’t know, Mr. Godin is one of the most accomplished marketers in modern history, having published a variety of fantastic books on the subject of marketing as well as having launched a variety of successful start-ups. In fact, you can make the case that  he’s the greatest marketer (or at least the greatest marketing author) alive today.

Anyhow, back to said blog post.

In it, Godin references Neil Patel’s post over on seomoz.org, which lists 12 things that will kill a blog post every time. He then goes on reveal that he’s doing 7 out of the 12 things that Neil advises against. Moreover, he explains that he’s doing these things on purpose and finishes the post by stating that the main lesson or takeaway for him is that “One way to work the system is to work the system. The other way is to refuse to work it.”

My gut reaction was to think that Mr. Godin was suffering from a similar type of hubris that afflicted Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Gene Weingarten, in that he mistakes his lack of understanding about marketing tactics like SEO for an affirmation of his personal core principles that guide his craft. This sentiment was strengthened when I attempted to @ reply Godin on Twitter only to find out that Mr. Godin does not actually interact with anyone on Twitter (thanks for the heads up Ross). Instead, he uses Twitter as a one-way, non-interactive, broadcast channel, which is more or less the opposite of what most successful social media practitioners suggest as well as the opposite of what I’ve personally found to be a path to social media success for both myself and the clients and employers I’ve worked for over the years.

I then spent some time reflecting on Godin’s main takeaway, trying to open my mind to his point of view. After all, he is one of the most successful marketers around, and he helped chip away at traditional interruption marketing before the internet became mainstream and facilitated a new way of doing things. Moreover, the fact that he linked to Neil’s post and recognized that he was “doing it wrong” implies some level of affirmation for the assertions being made by Neil in the first place.

Still, it was hard for me to identify with any of his core assertion for a variety of reasons. First off, as a blogger and friend of bloggers (many of which are wildly successful) I tend to agree with most if not all of the 12 assertions that Neil Patel made in his aforementioned post. Secondly, Neil is one of the most well-respected voices in the online marketing community and is a very successful interactive marketer and entrepreneur in his own right. Thirdly, Godin rose to fame at a time when channels like SEO were little more than an afterthought and the term social media didn’t even exist, and so despite his overall marketing acumen he’s not necessarily an expert in either of these specific marketing facets.

Even as I write this, I’m still questioning myself, wondering if perhaps I’ve missed the point of Godin’s post, because it’s so hard for me to accept that one of my marketing heroes could be so flat out wrong. But he very well could be, and perhaps that’s the main takeaway.

Don’t take Seth Godin at his word just because he’s Seth Godin

Don’t take Neil Patel at his word just because he’s Neil Patel (or because his post went viral on SEOmoz).

Don’t take Gene Weingarten at his word just because he won a Pulitzer prize.

And definitely, whatever you do, don’t take my word for it!

All appeals to authority are a fallacy and they can, at times, lead the unsuspecting marketer astray. In fact, they can and do lead folks astray all the time in many facets of life, but that’s a story for another day on another blog…

So instead of relying on appeals to authorities, realize that you don’t know what you don’t know and spent the requisite time testing and measuring to see what works for you and your marketing program. That’s the only reliable way to figure whether you side with Seth Godin or Neil Patel, and it’s also the only reliable to pave a way towards long-term marketing success.

I’d like to think that Mr. Godin would agree with me on that.

 

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