Ian Lurie is Chief Marketing Curmudgeon and President at Portent Interactive, a firm he started in 1995. Portent is a full-service internet marketing company whose services include SEO, SEM and strategic consulting.
Ian’s built his firm, his blog and his career around the idea that the internet is a fantastic marketing medium, but that it hasn’t fundamentally changed the rules of successful marketing: A great product, a great message, well-crafted content and careful analysis will always win out.
Ian recently co-published the Web Marketing for Dummies All In One Desk Reference. In it, he wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He’s the author of Conversation Marketing, the internet marketing blog and the book by the same name.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on an internet marketing resource guide called the Fat Free Guide. It’s a massive project that I’ll be releasing a little bit at a time – I’ll be announcing it on Conversation Marketing. I’m always studying and learning more about SEO, and working on perfecting the tools that help my team and I do our jobs.
Out of the office, I’m trying to get back into decent cycling shape after 3 years off the bike. I’m also trying to get my kids to take their dishes to the dishwasher after meals. I’m more optimistic about the former.
3 Trends that excite you?
First, the steady merging of mobile devices and the internet. It drives me nuts to hear folks talk about ‘mobile marketing’. Soon, it won’t be possible for agencies to assert that mobile is a different kind of marketing. Yes, there are some special requirements, just like doing an ad in a magazine has special requirements. But the message and essential story should be the same on a handheld device or a desktop or a TV.
Of course, the continued growth of the internet is pretty exciting, too. This isn’t really news. But we’ve just barely scraped the surface. It’s a hell of a lot of fun being involved in all of this from the start.
Finally, the rising importance of trending content and real time search is a huge opportunity for agile businesses and people. Portent’s spent a lot of time studying how to best ‘surf’ a topic that’s trending in social media, search, news or offline. This may be the biggest opportunity out there right now.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m all about simplifying as much as possible. If I have a big idea, I try to divide it into things I can do in a week or two. I build the first part, launch it, and then see how it goes. Then I go to the next part. Sometimes it’s an ugly process. It’s hard to not keep tweaking something until it’s perfect. But the idea that never gets out there has no chance for success, and I’ve seen countless teams and people plan and perfect themselves to death.
What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
You don’t need to take on every project. I’ve sometimes taken on clients and projects that were a poor fit from the start, and ended up with an unhappy team and client.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone really needs to build search engine that can give Google an honest run for its money. That should be an easy one. Cough. Or, take a crack at this one: A CMS that is 100% HTML5 compliant. It’s gotta happen soon.
How can I tell if the internet marketer/SEO I’m talking to is legit?
So many professionals seem to abdicate responsibility when they hire an internet marketer. Something about the fact that this stuff runs on top of technology makes everyone freeze up.
The same way you choose anyone in a highly specialized profession. Meet them. Talk to them. Get a feel for who they are, their expertise, and their ability to talk to you about their work. Definitely do NOT work with anyone who suggests they have a magic formula or secret sauce.
Definitely DO work with folks who are good communicators.
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