This is a transcript of an audio podcast.
Lee Odden: Welcome to IBM Press Podcast Series with Mike Moran and Lee Odden. The credentials list on Mike Moran is nearly a mile long, including the fact that he is the author of two important books, the new Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules and Search Engine Marketing, Inc. Mike Moran is an IBM distinguished engineer with more than 20 years experience in search technology working at IBM Research, Lotus, and other IBM software units. Mike has led the product team that developed the first commercial linguistic search engine in 1989 and has been granted four patents in Search and Retrieval Technology. He has led the original Search Marketing Strategy for IBM.com as well as the integration of IBM.com’s site search technologies. Mike worked on IBM’s website for eight years and now works on IBM’s OmniFind Enterprise Search in Analytics Products. In addition to research work, Mike is also a columnist for Revenue Magazine, WebProNews, and writes a very popular blog called "Biznology," which you will find at mikemoran.com.
My name is Lee Odden. I am the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and Executive Editor of marketingblog.com. Our company, TopRank, is an internet marketing consulting agency that provides enterprise search marketing, social media, and online public relation services for clients who range from Hewlett-Packard to McKesson. Basically, TopRank helps organizations bring strategic vision into how search and social media can help them reach their business goals through a mix of ongoing consulting, training, and implementation services. In this Podcast Series, Mike and I will discuss how you can master specific techniques for making the web’s two way conversation work successfully. We will talk about choosing the right new marketing tools and how to craft them into an integrated strategy for marketing success. You will also learn about the guiding principles of search engine marketing, how to develop and execute campaigns, and much, much more.
LO: Welcome, Mike.
Mike Moran: Thanks, Lee, glad to be here.
LO: So tell me, what was your inspiration for the books that you have written?
MM: I think in the beginning, it was just that, from working at IBM.com, we ran into all sorts of difficulties with internet marketing. I know a lot of people would expect that IBM would know what it was doing in terms of internet marketing, and I think we do now, but there were an awful lot of stumbles we had along the way, and I mean in some ways, we made every mistake in the book. So if you’re going to make every mistake in the book, you may as well put it in an actual book and tell people how to avoid those mistakes. I think that as we started to see that we were on to something for the first book, which I wrote in conjunction with Bill Hunt from Global Strategies Consulting Firm, he and I figured out that there is more to search marketing than just how to turn the dials and how the levers turn a certain way. Technical information is important, but in a large company you need to also understand how to command organizational behavior. You need to understand how you can get a whole company to do things a certain way. As we figured out how to crack that code at IBM, we realized that this was the kind of thing that a lot of companies, both big and small, needed to know how to do. We also knew that these things needed to be approached from the business point of view. So not just to understand technology of the new internet marketing but also to understand how that fits in with all the marketing disciplines that have existed and gone before, and how to communicate that with people who understood the traditional ways of going to market. When we looked at all those things, we ended up doing a lot of speaking engagements, and as we did that, the same questions seemed to come up over and over again and that was when we were inspired to write the first book on Search Engine Marketing. As I continued to speak and talk to companies, I decided that I wanted to write a new book. The new one, Do It Wrong Quickly, is kind of a whimsical title because we’re not really trying to tell people to do things wrong on purpose; what we’re trying to do is to get them to understand that most of what you do is wrong. And you need to admit it. You need to just say, "Hey, look we really don’t know exactly what the right thing is to do." So in order to do that in a traditional marketing world, what you have to do is focus groups and have lots of meetings and reach the dreaded consensus over a period of months where you’re just focused on getting all the show stoppers out reducing all the risk and eliminating all the problems because you can’t screw it up because you’re spending a million dollars on a TV commercial, and you’re buying airtime, and you’re doing all this really expensive stuff upfront that’s really high risk. On the internet it’s not so. On the internet, you are not spending that much money. You can do things very rapidly, and if you setup the right feedback loops, you can actually find out whether it worked or not and change it. And you can do that very quickly. You can put an ad up in Google AdSense this morning and by noon you can say, "Well, that didn’t work; let’s try and change the copy on that and see what happens; see if more people click through." And so, the risk associated with many of these new internet marketing opportunities is so low that your real option is to experiment. What you really need to do is: to try things, to admit that what you are doing is probably wrong, and that if you get the right feedback you can constantly change what you are doing until, eventually, you lurch into the right answer.
LO: Exactly. You know, I found that the both books complement each other quite nicely. I mean, with the Search Marketing, Inc., there is obviously a lot more to large scale SEO projects than just mechanical expertise, right; there are the people, the process, and the political or communications aspect to it. As the nature of how standard search engines and other social media channels are evolving in their popularity and become avenues for companies to market themselves, it makes that whole business of promoting a website even more complex which seems to make Do It Wrong Quickly such a great answer, a very timely book right now, you know, because it helps organizations become more nimble in their philosophy about how to execute marketing campaigns, see what works, see what doesn’t.
MM: Yeah, I hope so, Lee. The thing that we really looked at was one of the big struggles that companies have — especially companies that are maybe not so small, they might be medium sized or even large companies — is that, with a lot of these techniques you need to coordinate them across the whole company, but you can’t centralize them. You’re never going to have a blogging department. What you’re really going to have is a whole bunch of people all over the company that are doing little things that have to do with this. So the marketing department, the public relations department, the customer service department, all these specialists, now have to figure out how they’re going to teach the rest of the company how to do these things because any employee could be writing a blog or commenting on a blog, or could be on a message board where a customer is asking a question and anybody could be focused on doing search marketing. So all these different employees in different roles in your company are the people, who are the experts, who want to be heard from; or they are the experts that the customers would like to get the answers from. Also, the public relations professionals and marketing professionals, these people have all sorts of experience that, instead of just using it themselves to be the marketers or the PR people, they now need to evangelize and train and coach the rest of the company so they can galvanize their entire firm to be a marketing firm and a public relations firm; so that every employee knows that their company’s image is part of what they do and focus on messages to their customers and helping their customers is what every employee needs to do. That’s how you really turn yourself into a 2.0 Company. That’s how you get your entire company to market. So we’re hoping that that the books are timely so that we’re able to help companies that are struggling with the changes that web 2.0 imposes on them. We hope that they will be able to use that to go forward.
LO: Well, it sounds like a very holistic approach and certainly touching lots of different people within an organization, which ultimately becomes the best audience for these books.
MM: Yeah, I think so. I think that a lot of marketers are going to want to read the book because it’s kind of staring them in the face that there are changes that they have to make, but I think that if I am right, there really are many people in the organization to become marketers. I think many people can use these kinds of techniques and philosophies so that they can know what attitudes to bring as they operate in public with customers, competitors, and the general public.
LO: Is there anything in particular about the most recent book Do It Wrong Quickly that you draw attention to in terms of its format or any case studies or particularly unique learning that can come from the book?
MM: One of the things that I tried to do is to interview a number of people in the industry, who are working in companies, who are trying to do it wrong quickly. Obviously, they don’t use that word for it and they have all sorts of different words. They talk about feedback based culture and matrix oriented management and they have all sorts of different words that they use for it. Basically I tried to talk to as many different people as possible that had real world stories about how they did it wrong quickly; they didn’t spend all their time trying to get it right the first time and instead, what they did is, they setup the right feedback mechanisms and they were willing to experiment and try things and find out how customers are going to respond to it and then gradually tinker with their approach until they were getting something that worked.
LO: That’s great. The practical examples will certainly speak volumes. That wraps up our first Podcast with Mike Moran of IBM and Lee Odden. Our next seven Podcasts are going to talk about how folks can reach breakthrough results of internet marketing. Episodes two through six are deep dived into Mike’s latest book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules. In the last two episodes we will focus on developing and executing search marketing campaigns which are two vital components of the book Search Engine Marketing, Inc. In our next episode, we’ll talk about how the internet opens up new kinds of marketing offering new opportunities for marketers to reach the target audiences. For more information on both books and Mike Moran, visit him at mikemoran.com. This series is brought to you by IBM Press at IBMpressbooks.com.