The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Fourth Edition
by David Meerman Scott
David Meerman Scott is an experienced marketing executive who says that interruption-based marketing techniques are ineffective. “I’ve done it the old way. It doesn’t work anymore.” Under the new rules, marketers publish their own content and speak directly with buyers.
“The Internet has made public relations public again… Your newsroom is for your buyers, not just the media… By building a media room that targets buyers, you will not only enhance those pages as a powerful marketing tool but also make a better media site for journalists.”
I love what Scott says about clarity and authenticity. “Don’t get trapped by your own jargon; think, speak, and write like your customers do… Unfortunately, most newsrooms are chock-full of jargon, three-letter acronyms that I don’t understand, and other egocentric nonsense… I’m just too busy to decipher gobbledygook.” He adds, “I’d like to challenge the assumption that business-to business (B2B) marketing must be dreadfully boring… B2B marketers seem to forget that what all marketers need to do is communicate with people.”
Segmentation is not a new concept, but I like the author’s “buyer personas” approach because it humanizes the communication. “Building buyer personas is the first step and probably the single most important thing that you will do in creating your marketing and PR plan… The buyer persona profile gives you a chance to truly empathize with target buyers, to step out of your role as someone who wants to promote a product and see, through your buyers’ eyes, the circumstances that drive their decision process… The best way to learn about buyers and develop buyer persona profiles is to interview people”
On the topic of SEO, Scott writes, “If you are not using the phrases your buyers search on, how can you possibly reach them?” Keep in mind that people in different countries may use different search phrases. The book includes an example of a company which gained competitive advantage by creating a separate set of content for their Canadian buyers.
Scott addresses the dilemma of whether to require user registration in order to access content. “My research into the differences in download frequency for content such as e-books when they are made completely free versus when they require registration suggests that you will generate between 10 and 50 times more downloads when you do not require registration.” As a case in point, the trade association AIIM offered an e-book (and a presentation version) with no registration requirement, resulting in a combined 8,491 downloads. They also offered a research report which did require registration, resulting in only 513 downloads.
Video is an increasingly common part of the marketing mix. Some people are intimidated by the production costs, “but if you think about business-casual video, all of a sudden videos can be low- or even no-cost and can be completed in a few hours or even a few minutes.”
Scott has coined the term newsjacking. “Newsjacking is inserting your ideas into a breaking news story by writing a real-time blog post or shooting a video to interest reporters and generate coverage… I have never seen a technique as powerful… Your goal with newsjacking is to get your take on a breaking news story in front of journalists at the moment they are looking for additional information to put in their stories.” As an example, Steve Wynn took advantage of the news coverage of Prince Harry’s naked adventure in Las Vegas. “Wynn publicly waived the hotel bill (we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars), which got the Encore Wynn into a stunning 3,657 stories by my Google News count.”
The author addresses corporate policies toward blogging and social media, but he doesn’t see this as a technology-specific issue. “I think it is much better for organizations to establish policies for all communications… The corporate guidelines should include statements that employees can’t reveal company secrets, can’t use inside information to trade stock or influence prices, and must be transparent and provide their real name and affiliation when communicating.”
He discourages layers of approval and editing. “However, if your blog posts must be reviewed by others in your organization before going live, then have your colleagues focus only on the content, not your actual words. Do not let others in your organization turn your authentic and passionate writing into another form of marketing gobbledygook… People don’t want PR, they want something that’s real.”
“Success comes from experimentation… The trick to benefiting from any new medium is this: Participate in it; don’t just try to take advantage of it. Be a genuine part of the action!”
I reviewed the first edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR on Amazon.com in 2008 and gave it five stars. The fourth edition is even more comprehensive and contains new examples of companies successfully implementing the concepts. Some of the other topics covered include blogging, e-books, email newsletters, image-sharing applications, news releases, podcasts, QR codes, webinars, and wikis.
Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly. 4th ed. Hoboken: Wiley, 2013. Buy from Amazon.com