I started doing internet marketing eight years ago in June 1999, when I joined a consumer retail dot-com company. Back then, there were only some rudimentary tools for doing marketing online. You had to have some level of technical understanding to be good at online marketing, and to effectively measure and track everything you were doing, you needed to tie together a bunch of different tools, reports and spreadsheets to get decent metrics.
At that time, most people were not familiar with the terminology and techniques for online marketing. If you had a year or two of experience, you were a valuable commodity. The “traditional” marketing professionals looked at online marketing with some combination of disdain, curiosity and fear, seeing it as some sort of magic practiced by 24 year olds with spiked hair and mock turtlenecks. Internet marketing was special because you needed a specialist to do it.
So, why do I say Internet marketing is dead? Because the time of the specialist is over. There is no such thing anymore as “Internet marketing." It’s just marketing. Just like we discuss print ads, we should discuss banner ads, just like we create direct mail, we should create pay per click search ads. But the use of specialists who only do online marketing needs to end. Everyone who does marketing should be empowered with simple and easy-to-use tools to let them use the Internet for marketing.
Why are there still millions of Internet marketing specialists and SEO and SEM firms? Because people still think Internet marketing is black magic and something only specialists can do. Because there is no simple system to create, manage and measure everything you need to do to effectively market on the internet. The average person cannot easily leverage online marketing. Not yet.
Marketers need a set of tools that are made for the way they work, not the way techie and Internet-savvy people work. The ability to have a website that helps you do search engine optimization (SEO) automatically, manages your search engine marketing, makes building landing pages a snap and automatically optimizes conversion programs on your website. A system that gives you as much data as possible about your website visitors, and presents that data to you in a format that means something to you and helps you actually act on it to get results. This is especially true for the millions and millions of small businesses who don’t have the luxury of a huge marketing staff and an IT department.
This brings me to why I am here, with my first post on this blog. I believe in the online marketing tools that HubSpot is building, and cannot wait to work with the team to bring the next generation of software tools to marketers everywhere, and put an end the difference between marketing and Internet marketing.
What do you think? In this day and age, is Internet marketing really that different from marketing in general? Isn’t it time that there were simple tools to allow everyone to do online marketing? How long with the “specialists” survive?
Originally published Mar 2, 2007 2:35:00 AM, updated October 01 2019