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Surviving the Recession—Online Marketing Tips from Mitch Joel

Lars Johansson, Program Director for Internet Marketing Conference, caught up with online marketing guru Mitch Joel to discuss how companies can be smart and survive the recession.

Mitch, have you noticed whether the current global economic crisis is having any effect on Internet marketing?

I think we are all seeing the effects. Some companies are cutting back, but there are some that are going full force into digital. I do believe that this is normal and a good strategy. The Internet can-without question-give companies the efficiencies they need and demand in times like this. The ability to also cut what is not working and to amp up the volume on what is working makes the Internet evermore interesting. In times of struggle, all people (and this includes businesses), must focus on building and nurturing their community. Because of the many social media channels, this digital world can now deliver on that promise as well.

If you were to give some advice to companies facing a downturn, what would that be?

Get smart. Define your long-term strategy. Establish how your business connects online, and make every effort to maximize on the more low-hanging fruit (search engine marketing, database marketing, etc.). On top of that, there is no better time to give total value. Become a content publisher (text, images, audio, video-your call), and build a trusted community with consumers.

What's the biggest mistake made by online marketers in general?

Trying to take the traditional marketing and advertising channels and tactics, and turning them into digital marketing programs. Instead of adapting your ads for the Web, figure out what the brand is really trying to do and create something very unique online.

Where would you tell someone new to Internet marketing to start?

Without a question, it would be search engine marketing and starting to build your own in-house database. Search marketing will bring the people who are already looking for you closer, and building a database will help you understand the types of consumers interested in whatever it is that you are selling.

What's the most amazing moment you've had on the Internet?

Every time I have a thought, type it up, and hit the publish button, it amazes me. Some people think blogging is dead. The ability to think, type, and publish is a brand-new concept, and we have not even begun to really understand the huge ramifications this is going to have on society and marketing.


Mitch Joel has been dubbed the "Rock Star of Digital Marketing" by Marketing Magazine. He has taught online marketing to some of the most well-known and successful brands in the world, including Wal-Mart, Sears, Starbucks, and Visa. Mitch will be speaking at Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 27, 2009. For more information, visit


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