Lee Odden is an icon in my native Minnesota, both because of his agency TopRank, but also because he has built an international audience over the past 15+ years in online marketing. His contribution to the industry has not only elevated his profile, but also the profile for other Minnesotans as well.
Whenever I would tell someone I am from Minnesota, they would say “do you know Lee Odden?” It was always comforting to not have to explain to someone what Minnesota was and/or hear some joke about the cold. Thanks for being a pioneer, Lee!
You could say that I have been following Lee’s path throughout my entire career in online marketing. As I was getting started out in the industry, I first turned to local resources for getting started. Lee was one of the few examples that I had available to follow locally.
It was nice to hear Lee’s story. Of course, I had my idea of how things developed for Lee, but I also wanted to get a direct understanding of how things came to be along the way.
It is an honor to be able to talk with Lee to hear how he made the journey into a noted author, agency owner and keynote speaker. It wasn’t at all what I expected.
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Things we learned from Lee’s interview
One of my favorite things that Lee talked about was our maturity as marketers. We have different levels of maturity that we go through along our path. Maturity is how we build a business around our passion for marketing.
Before the turn of the century, Lee got to develop online marketing for a traditional agency and grew it to 50% of revenue. He was fueled by passion for online marketing, and helped grow a business significantly.
His passion was sparked from “truly thinking about long form trends and coming up with original ideas.”
Original ideas are not as common these days, because there is a commoditization of ideas because of connectedness.
[easy-tweet tweet=”There is a commoditization of ideas because of connectedness” user=”leeodden”]
Lee was fortunate to have gotten started early in the industry, and refine his ideas when there weren’t many others competing in the same space. No PR firm was talking about SEO in a proposal in 2001. So he helped start TopRank as a product of the PR agency.
On the role of clients in generating new ideas:
Working with challenging clients accelerates the knowledge of what Marketing needs
I get to do a lot of experimentation and some of what I do translates to agency services
On marrying passion with business:
With passion you innovate, and with structure you make it into a business
On the value of search, in 2015:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Search is important as a discovery channel. There is clear intent through language to pursue an answer.” user=”leeodden”]
On having a complete marketing strategy:
Customers find solutions in more ways than just search.
On the role of search in marketing strategy:
[easy-tweet tweet=”You used to be able to rely only on search as a strategy. You can’t do that anymore.” user=”leeodden”]
[easy-tweet tweet=”Search can be the byproduct of a great marketing strategy” user=”jeffalytics”]
On the role of content in generating new clients:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Creating content had a great effect in our pipeline” user=”leeodden”]
On how you can find success in this industry
[easy-tweet tweet=”When you pay attention to consumer trends, that is what leads innovation” user=”leeodden”]
On having long lasting relationships with clients:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Long term insights are absolutely freakin priceless!” user=”leeodden”]
On approaching content development:
Take a modular approach to content into a content plan where you can be the best answer
On the SEO mindset:
[easy-tweet tweet=”SEO people have an optimized state of mind” user=”leeodden”]
On delivering value as a marketing service provider:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Make clients and sponsors people look good”]
On the value of writing a book:
Books differentiate, opens up speaking opportunities. Anyone who has invested in the book becomes a very qualified lead.
My favorite quote from Lee:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Curiosity, imagination, thoughtfulness and data” user=”leeodden”]
Lee’s advice to marketers:
[easy-tweet tweet=”Help customers and use your intellect to create something of value” user=”leeodden”]
Links related to this week’s episode
- TopRank Online Marketing
- @toprank on Twitter
- @leeodden on Twitter
- Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn
- Optimize Book by Lee Odden
- Excellent forum where the Local U faculty and other experts will answer your questions