The Role of Passion in Marketing

I recently posted that I thought almost any successful marketer could be defined as a spammer at some point in time. The main point was that to be successful, you have to be willing to live outside of other's boundaries, and be willing to accept arbitrary labels people will throw at you for doing so. But that is not to say that everyone will succeed ONLY by spamming. I got an email today from a guy who was down and out. I got a call yesterday from another guy who seemed to be in a similar market position. The biggest commonality I notice amongst people who seem like they want to do well but are not is that they either lack focus or passion. If you are passionate about a topic it is much easier to stay focused and avoid burnout.

WebmasterWorld recently had a thread about authority which has a number of great quotes in it.


So for most people, an authority site is built as a labor of love on the subject.
It's that "This is the site I wanted to find on the subject when I was looking for info, but couldn't" mindset.

MikeNoLastName, being a contrarian with the thread theme, stated:

So NO I do not agree that the internet is anymore (if it ever truly was) the great playing field leveler that many still believe it is. Perhaps, for a while you'll out-fox your bigger competitors by knowing more about SEO, at least until they wise up to the potential and hire a whole staff of SEOs, but in the end it will still be who is a better business organizer and who can afford to throw more marketing money in the ad buying pot, which is greatly encouraged by the likes of G & Y.

In some cases Mike is right, but Google just bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, which shows that the underdog can beat the giant. In most cases they probably do, as long as they are truly passionate about the topic. If a person lacks passion then they are typically far easier to steamroll over though. Why?

There are people spending $5K to $100K+ a day on arbitrage or spamming. If you try to compete just on numbers and are starting with a smaller chip stack you are fighting an uphill battle.

That same WMW thread linked back to an old Googleguy comment:

Of course, folks never know when we're going to adjust our scoring. It's pretty easy to spot domains that are hoarding PageRank; that can be just another factor in scoring. If you work really hard to boost your authority-like score while trying to minimize your hub-like score, that sets your site apart from most domains. Just something to bear in mind.
Let me clarify that last post a smidge. You can try all sorts of stuff to "conserve PageRank," but that's no guarantee that something will work, or that it will work in the future.

If you lack passion then you may feel you have to get something before you give anything out. If you are passionate about a topic it is much easier to become a platform.

Not only is it easier for passionate people to become topical platforms, but if you are passionate

  • you are more likely to want to understand what ideas are important (and why)

  • you are more likely to see what ideas are spreading
  • you are more likely to see why ideas are spreading

And as a net result of those you are more likely to be able to create ideas that will spread. When you start seeing things like unrequested quality links, mentions on high quality sites, or other people saying I wish I would have thought of that it means you are on the right path.

Once you learn how ideas spread in one market it is easy to apply that line of thinking to quickly analyze another market.

So how does the passion bit relate to the spamming stuff I mentioned at the top of the post?

  • The more passionate you are the easier it is to create signs of quality and the more people will trust you.

  • People trusting you means you will do well even if you temporarily fall out of graces with the search engines.
  • The less effort you have to put in to build your backlink profile the more likely your site is to look like a natural part of the web.
  • Many authority sites started out as hubs.
  • Sites with more signs of quality can get away with doing a lot more shady things (or accidentally screwing up lots of things) while still being in the realm of normalcy.
Published: October 15, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


October 15, 2006 - 8:26am

I completely agree Aaron. Perhaps my least favorite question to see in a forum is "What business should I go into" It's an impossible question for anyone other than the person asking to answer.

If you're passionate about something you'll much more easily be able to answer something usefeul and build something of quality. Being passionate will help get you through those burnout times we all go through.

I decided to work designing and marketing websites not becuase of the potential for profit in either. In truth the market is highly competivie and saturated. I would probably be wiser to use those skills to build another business. However I entered the industry, becuase that's where my passion lies. Ever answer I find opens up new questions that I instantly want seek the answers to.

When you find yourself doing something consistently in your spare time out of a live for it, you've found a business you can really make a name for yourself in. The market I've chosen is saturated, but because I'm truly passionate about it I'll consistently get better at what I do and in time rise toward the top of the market.

While it would be easier for me to rise in a less saturated industry I would never have the drive to try. Instead of rising I'd sink to the bottom.

And if you're going to spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week at something you might as well enjoy that something. If you're passionate about what you do then 10 or 12 hours days 6 or 7 days a week won't feel like work.

There's a reason why you're posting late and a Saturday night and why I'm here commenting on your post late on a Saturday night. We're both passionate about this business.

October 15, 2006 - 8:59am

Aaron Its one of those things. If you do not have passion for what you do forget about it and move on. It is crazy I looked at forex and the other high value topics. The heck with that. It is a very bumpy road building a biz online so decided to go with things I am really interested in and believe in.

People feel what others write, the days of throwing up crap 300 word articles are done. Malcom Forbes said "The biggest mistake people make is not doing what they love"

It took me along time to realize that. Do what you love and write a masterpiece instead of keyword based crap. Yep it takes 10 times as long but the returns and ibls will last generations instead of months.

By the way not kissing your butt but the seobook is a masterpiece keep it up and dont let the money or ivory tower blind you.

In the end it is not what we get but what we give that counts.

Jack Ramsey
October 15, 2006 - 5:44pm

Aaron -

This post could have not been at a better timing for me. I have spent the last six month pure spamming just to test out the experts claims. What I have found is a ton of work getting links and that my lack of passion is not motivating me to make any real money with it.

I have therefore been racking my brain lately to really come up with an idea that will be one of those ideas some else says I wish I would have thought of that.

Anyway great post.

Hey by the way regarding your first line "I recently posted that I thought almost any successful marketer could be defined as a spammer at some point in time.", I would love to here your opinion on brad fallons new $749 a month course. It appears his group link pod automated article exchange is a bit spammy and black hattish to me. What do you think?


October 16, 2006 - 3:12am

Great point Aaron. I was lucky enough to hear the CEO and founder of iRobot speak for about an hour last week and their success speaks directly to your point on passion. His company was simply a tightly knit group of folks that loved what they did, and that was what got them through the first unprofitable 9 nine years and the first 14 failed business models.

How often do you hear of very talented individuals failing repeatedly before success? Loving what you do is the key to anyone's success. What makes marketers unique is that our passion is not just about our individual discipline, it is about infecting others with our passion as well.

October 16, 2006 - 9:41am

"If you lack passion then you may feel you have to get something before you give anything out."

Damn right, now if I could only convince my clients of that...

October 16, 2006 - 3:22pm

I think even more important than passion is finding solutions to problems. If you help someone solve a problem on the internet, the people you help will love you for it. It will drive links to your site, magazines will want to write about it. Of course you want to be smart about how the site integrates with the broader web and the search engines, but there seems to be WAY too much focus on the manipulative part of building traffic.

There was recently an article on 20 of the best "web 2.0" sites in Computer Shopper Magazine. That term is well worn, but the author had a unique take on the subject that buttresses this point of solving a problem:

"We picked 20 of the best sites that have been tagged "Web 2.0." Every single one answers a need, offers help, presents some practical value, or at least provides a good dose of fun—quite a contrast from the original dot-com wave, when the Web was awash with unoriginal, ill-conceived, or often pointless services."

October 16, 2006 - 8:31pm

I'm afraid, I have to agree. Advertising is a tough industry and exposure is a big key to conversion.

It's a jungle out there and sometimes you have to play a little jungle ball to score a point. (Pardon the lame analogy... you know what I mean).

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