We’ve all fallen victim to some form of cultural conditioning, whether that was buying an expensive truck because we “needed” it or spending money building a collection of beauty products we don’t use because someone told us we had to. Rand Fishkin, Co-Founder of Moz, is asking businesses to look at their current SEO and marketing practices and ask, “have we been socially conditioned to do our marketing this way?”
Rand Fishkin begins by saying an “invisible giant is mucking up our marketing.” The invisible giant he is speaking about is cultural conditioning, the culture we live and work in biases all our actions and beliefs. So how does this affect our marketing?
Marketing culture has lead us to believe that investments must be measurable. Measurable marketing is what drives the big budgets, it’s where we’re all spending money. Some of the easiest-to-measure channels include pay-per-click advertising, social media, and retargeting/remarketing advertising. The hardest-to-measure channels include word of mouth, SEO, and organic social media. We’re convinced that we must spend (and keep spending) in order to have measurable marketing because we’ve been culturally convinced that our investments must be measurable, even if something like word of mouth might do more for us.
You can almost hear businesses chanting, “we want a return on investment and we want it now.” We’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that if it’s not ROI-positive today it’s not going to be any good tomorrow. Rand encourages taking a long view of the projects “trajectory” to determine if something has the potential to be ROI positive in the future, rather than just focusing on short-term gains.
Finally, marketing culture teaches us that search investments are either SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or PPC (Pay-Per-Click), however, the days of SEO or PPC dictating who’s clicking are gone. Nine of the most click-earning, non-traditional search engine results are page features: knowledge panels, related questions, local packs, images, sitelinks, featured snippets, top stories, videos, and Twitter. Rand teaches us that search marketing, and marketing in general, is changing. It’s our job to change with it.
We can learn a lot from Rand Fishkin and his quirky, yet insightful take on marketing practices. The key message is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that the way we are marketing is the best, most efficient way to be achieving our goals. It’s time to re-evaluate our current strategies and determine the way that cultural conditioning affects them.