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August 2, 2010

What the Triceratops Can Teach Us about Internet Marketing

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Sad news for dino lovers! The triceratops is a lie.

At least that’s what two researchers are explaining to the scientific community this week.

“Now Scannella and Horner say that triceratops is merely the juvenile form of torosaurus. As the animal aged, its horns changed shape and orientation and its frill became longer, thinner and less jagged. Finally it became fenestrated, producing the classic torosaurus form […]

It was already known that triceratops skulls changed throughout their development, but not that the final result was a torosaurus. Torosaurus will now be abolished as a species and specimens reassigned to triceratops, says Horner.”

Torosaurus in Milwaukee.
Image via Wikipedia

Talk about a redefining moment. I know thousands of Gen Xers are tearing up at the realization that The Land Before Time wasn’t real. It’s okay, guys. We’ll survive, even if the torosaurus doesn’t.

During times of loss, it’s good to reflect on life’s lessons. And triceratops’ story isn’t without its takeaways for the marketing community. In honor of the three-horned reptile, remember these three things the much-loved dinosaur taught us in life and death.

Leverage the Power of Intuition

If you were to compare the two fossils, it’s likely you’d come to the same conclusion. Just look at how significantly the skull of the dino transformed from youth to adulthood. The paleontologists who decided that the torosaurus and the triceratops were two species were following their gut. And so it was because of basic intuition that the world was misled for decades about the truth of the triceratops. That’s the power of intuition, and once a “fact” is accepted, it’s hard to reverse it in the public consciousness. Many decisions in everyday life are based on little more than desire and intuition. So, it’s in a marketer’s best interest to make a website intuitive and easy to use in order to facilitate conversions.

In Dispelling Buyer Anxiety and Replacing It with Buyer Confidence, it’s clear that there are ways to improve the logical flow of a conversion funnel. By reducing hesitation and adding calls to actions and assurances throughout a site, an SEO, usability specialist or conversion rate optimizer can streamline the buying process and improve the likelihood of conversions. By leveraging a visitor’s intuition-based understanding of a site, you’re removing obstacles and assisting purchases.

Adapt to New Knowledge

I guess we’re lucky that the dinosaur will likely take on the triceratops name and abandon the torosaurus title since most of us are attached to triceratops and never heard of torosaurs before this scandal unfolded. Being able to hold on to the title we have affection for makes it a little easier to go forward from here. But even if this wasn’t the case, it would be important to our future understanding and study of dinosaurs that we look forward and not back. If science didn’t build on each new discovery, we’d still be in the Stone Age.

The same reality applies in marketing, as well. A professional can’t be married to a singular strategy or the idea that there’s only one way to do search or social media marketing. If she did, it would be at the risk of missing out on new opportunities, emerging technologies, and changing terms of service and guidelines. Look at how long it’s taken old school marketing types to adapt to the social, new media environment. Fear of evolving has led to failures of creativity, missed opportunities and lost revenue.

Get Familiar with Other Species

It turned out that triceratops and torosaurus weren’t just cousins, they were identical twins. This truth was finally set free thanks to the scientists’ close study of the dinosaurs in questions. It took dedication, in-depth knowledge of the entire dinosaur family, and a willingness to look at the big picture in order to discover the best explanation for the dino dilemma. While the scientists were surely experts in the triceratops and torosaurus species, there studies were aided by a greater understanding of dinosaurs and their morphing anatomies as a whole.

Whether investigating other Internet marketing channels or looking at search engines beyond Google, an Internet marketer can enhance their understanding of their specialty channel by complementing it with knowledge of related channels. Search, social, e-mail, display and more interact as a consumer travels the Web. Consider the varied activities that consume Internet users’ time and think of how they can be leveraged for a business’s best interests. By taking advantage of intuition, evolving with new developments and maintaining a strong grasp of the family tree, you can learn from the triceratops and avoid brand extinction.

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One response to “What the Triceratops Can Teach Us about Internet Marketing”

  1. Andy @ FirstFound writes:

    I’m just glad they dropped Torosaurus instead of Triceratops. They already took away Brontosaurus. And Pluto! The madmen…

    Erm, oh, great post by the way!



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