A Testament To Search Marketing Knowledge

by Todd Mintz January 12th, 2009 

Traduction francaise: Un Tmoignage sur le Savoir en Marketing de Recherche

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky, for what looked like an eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without features save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cuts its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway
Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Untitled by Pixeleyes

I did a seminar a bunch of years ago and one of the most powerful concepts that I took away from that experience is the idea that all knowledge is divided into three categories:

  • Things that you know
  • Things that you dont know
  • Things that you dont know that you dont know

If a person doesnt know something, they can either learn it, consult with somebody who does know, or alter their behavior to lessen / avoid the impact of not knowing. However, a person cant react to knowledge that they dont know exists which is unfortunate if what they dont know that they dont know profoundly impacts some aspect of their life.

Only recently did I realize how important this concept is to the success and education of a search marketer.

People come to search marketing from many backgrounds: Web Development, Web Design, Marketing, or even unusual ones like Law and Chiropractic Medicine. What draws us in? The lure of easy money? The necessity of lead generation through any possible means? For many of us, our initial encounter with Search Marketing was like the ultimate Blind Date that has put us on a life-changing personal and professional journey.

When we start on our path of search marketing education, we get exposed to a ton of information that is totally foreign to us. For all that were learning, a realization occurs as to how vast the expanse is of search marketing knowledge and how little of it weve actually mastered. As our personal knowledge base increases, we get enough insight to see how much we know that we dont know has also increased exponentially. At this stage, there is no way we can conceptualize the outer limits of possible search marketing knowledge.

Eventually, all the individual bits of knowledge weve been learning starts to make sense to us. We can unify what we know into some form of coherent search marketing theory. Our cumulative wisdom becomes valuable to others. If were employed, we can ROI for our employer, or were valuable enough for somebody to purchase our knowledge at a nice hourly rate.

When were able to impose order on the chaos of search marketing information, the lay of the land become much clearer. We now realize we cant know it all, so if were smart, we take a subsection of the whole and become expert at that. Even with a specialty, we soon realize that what we dont know, even in our little fiefdom, is quite vast. In order to succeed, we need to associate ourselves with others that excel in complimentary search marketing disciplines so that we can continue successfully along our path. Fortunately with the rise of social media, this is easier to do than ever.

The people who become really successful at search marketing dont get that way by rote copying of othersthey ultimately take what theyve learned and forge their own paths. If were to make it successfully through this stage of the journey, we need to be perceptive enough to take the concepts that weve learned and meld them together in new and unique ways that arent known by other travelers.

Even this far down the road, we continue to realize how much we dont know about search marketing. However, the process of learning new search concepts becomes much less daunting with our advanced background. Also, we are finally able to make headways into the realm of the dont know that we dont know. When our knowledge becomes so advanced that we are able to conceptualize new and unique search marketing ideas, we are able to push back the fences that separate possible knowledge from the unknown (and then we can begin to master what we were previously unable to conceptualize).

Revelations are found in clouds by shastadaisy

The most successful people in our industry arent necessarily the ones that know the most. Rather, its the people who have taken the knowledge learned along the journey and successfully applied it in business and commerce. In our community, we have a plethora of successful individuals who used search marketing as the engine to drive extreme revenue generation (in specialties like Publishing / Programming Conferences, Social Media Domination, Affiliate Marketing, Search Marketing Education, or Premium Content).

There is plenty of stuff these folks dont know and they arent able to conceptualize everything that can help them grow their businesses even further. However, theyve locked down their position in the industry ecosystem and can follow paths based upon want, not need.

Ultimately, this is what we all should strive for on our journeygarner enough knowledge in order that we can carve out a little piece of heaven that can secure our familys future.

Todd Mintz

Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.


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12 Responses to “A Testament To Search Marketing Knowledge”

  1. Adam Audette says:

    Awesome. There might be a fourth category of knowing: things we *think* we know but don't. That's why Yoda tells young Skywalker, "you must un-learn what you have learned."

  2. Metaspring says:

    @Adam Audette – I was just thinking that myself; what about that which a lot of people think they know, but actually know nothing about. Because sometimes we pick up the incorrect way of doing things whereas there is a better way to do it.

  3. This post must rank up there as one of the most pertinent I've come across recently. The reason why I enjoy search marketing is because it is so fluid and ever changing. Sometimes one has to unlearn that what was learnt quite recently, very quickly! One thing is for sure, search marketing must rank as one of the greatest and most unexplored new frontiers!

  4. Successful application is key in almost any subject of life. The top search marketers have applied their knowledge and made something of it: like almost any other aspect of life.

    Keep up to date, build your knowledge from many different sources and apply it.

  5. I find that in non internet life, there are often very successful people who are not even interested in gathering knowledge. How many cases one reads about where, the attitude is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' and 'not invented here' attitudes? At least in the webworld, we do not find it. At least I have not found it.

  6. Some unusual people such as Lawyers and Medical Experts go into Search Marketing because it is now a necessity and it might have been their hobby since their teens.

  7. Very true, another thing to keep in mind. What is common sense to one may not be to another.

  8. Metaspring says:

    Utah SEO Says: amen**


  9. Adam Parikh says:

    A post combining two of my favorite things SEM and The Gunslinger! Thanks Todd, enlightening post.

  10. When You have to spend to much time for gathering knowledge You may miss time for building Your success :(

  11. Yeah no reason to get distracted. Persistence is a key.