A co-worker of mine is a huge fan of the World of Warcraft (WoW) online role-playing game. While sharing with me some hilarious non-family-safe audio about a WoW leader losing his cool over 50 dkp (dragon kill points), he remarked that this clip was the funniest thing about WoW since the video of the now “legendary” player Leeroy Jenkins, which I then viewed for the first time. After laughing myself silly, I came to the realization that Leeroy faced and reacted to a situation analogous to what many businesses face when they decide to market their products and services on the Internet for the first time.
The video shows a group of upper level WoW players plotting their battle strategy against a particularly tough group of creatures. Leeroy is away from his computer, not participating in the discussion. All of a sudden, he jumps back into the game. Ignoring all the tactical planning taking place, he screams “LEEROOOOOOOY JEEENKIIIIIINSSS!!!”, and charges solo into the dungeon to the absolute disbelief of the other group members. The rest of the group decides to follow Leeroy, but without the benefit of any tactical planning, everyone gets slaughtered.
Starting an Internet marketing campaign, like fighting high-level, cyberspace monsters, is a huge complex undertaking. In order to make the effort a success, many people who perform different functions must be strategically aligned. Some of the disciplines required include web design, database development, copywriting, search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaign management, email marketing, and CRM management, along with various sales, marketing and administrative efforts that occur offline to support the online venture.
Unfortunately, some people feel that they can skip some or all of the preliminary steps. They may feel that if they get top search engine optimization results, they don´t need to upgrade their website, develop compelling offers or create lead capture mechanisms. Or, they believe that 6,000 words of invisible text on their home page will trick Google into ranking their website first. When faced with the challenge of making sales online, some professionals, impeccably careful and conservative in all other aspects of their business dealings, act rashly and recklessly, forgetting that the same traits that made them successful in other aspects of their business apply to internet marketing.
Your team may not have all the in-house resources to “slay the monsters”...however, you need not go into battle unprepared. In this age of outsourcing, it is easy to purchase the expertise that is missing from your campaign effort. If your company possesses some of the core competencies of internet marketing but is too busy to focus its energy on the campaign, you might consider outsourcing the whole effort. Hire professionals to fight the battles for you...your company stills reaps all the spoils. Some businesses that want to start marketing online but don't have the bandwidth to spend on a campaign opt for an expedient solution over a meticulously planned one…and most of them end up as monster bait.
If your business can formulate and execute a carefully designed Internet marketing strategy, your business will reap the benefits. On the other hand, if you think you can skip the planning and go right into battle, you´ll likely suffer Leeroy´s fate.
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Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association.
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