New Rules of Marketing and PR Revisited

Posted on April 15, 2010

The New Marketing Or Bust

New Rules of Marketing and PR Revisited

By Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology)

“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interest them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” –Howard Luck Gossage

That was true when Howard Gossage said it, and it is just as true now. No one goes to your stupid company website. People read what interests them, and sometime it’s about your product, or even something on your website.

The talented Nettie Hartsock contacted me and asked if I would like a review copy of David Meerman Scott’s 2nd edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Sure. I had not read his book, which had been on my “to read” list for a while. I am a fan of DMS’s work. I really like his blog (WebInkNow), whose posts I tweet with regularity.

It was no surprise that as I read his book I felt I was connecting with a kindred spirit. Albeit a trailblazer a head of his time. (I know that is redundant, but I’m gonna go with it anyway.)

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Brand Journalism

When I was working at public relations agencies, the majority of my staff worked on non-traditional media activities to reach our clients’ audiences, e.g., white papers, seminars and workshops, news releases written and delivered directly to customers, elite customer (power user) advisory boards, and other activities that DMS would call Brand Journalism. Those practices were common well over a decade ago in the agencies I worked. Today, it is all those things, but on steroids and in Internet time.

The shift in the way we talk to our customer-base has been long underway, and DMS captures it in a definitive work. This book creates a language to talk about what marketing is now, not about the future. I would call this book a new marketing primer for the senior marketing professional. Unfortunately, that would belie the magnum opus that it is.

How Customers Make Their Buy Decision

This book covers a lot, but let me try to convey the fundamental gist by sharing one anecdote. DMS tells about his experience when he wanted to buy a new car. He first went to the big manufactures’ websites to gather information, but was quickly turned off by the self-serving marketing dreck. The same bland jargon filled marketingsese copy we have all learned to write because it gets approved by the empty suits that demand final approval, but who lack any marketing sagaciousness. (But, I digress.)

He then turned to Edmonds CarSpace, a place where consumers share their authentic stories and opinions. Here, he could read what others are saying, and then shape his own informed opinion. The true power of social media.

This is the very essence of how our job as communicators has changed. We no longer can create marketing materials in a vacuum and then kick them out the door, traditional one-to-many, and hope to be successful.

Just In Time Information

We now must provide the right information for a many-to-many marketing communications model. Because, now our materials are judged, rated, or possibly shared, by a very vocal majority that is not on the company payroll, and that is not afraid of getting fired for being honest.

I have advised my clients for a long time to step back and understand who their customers are,. Then speak directly to them in the language they choose. That is why I deeply appreciate each chapter. They go to the heart of the new marketing. For example, the chapters on writing releases to and for your customers, or having a company blog to demonstrate your thought leadership are both on target. If you can, or already, grasp these very simple chapters, you can grasp the significant core change marketing has gone through.

Who Should Read This?

If you are starting in communications, an old corporate communications dog needing to learn the new tricks, or a CMO that wants to ensure you “get it”, this is a must read. Not only does he talk directly about the tools and the hands on how-to, but, more importantly, he gives the larger framework in which to view this shift, and develop you own strategy to be successful.

You may disagree with things DMS says, which is fine, but you better understand every single concept in this book, and have an articulate reason why you disagree.

The future of new marketing is now. Are you ready?

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