David Meerman Scott interview – New Rules of Marketing & PR
Updated on July 15th, 2013
When I had the pleasure of seeing marketing strategist, David Meerman Scott present live via satellite at the Growth Summit in Sydney, I was so impressed that I just wanted to ask a few more questions. Luckily, David graciously accepted our request.
In the Part 1 of this interview, David explains:
– what the ‘New Rules of Marketing & PR’ are and how they work.
– how he personally used the ‘new rules’ to reach 30 million people for the launch of his book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR“.
I’ve actually written five books. One which is the most popular is a book is called The New Rules of Marketing & PR. It originally came out in hardcover in June 2007. It’s now out in its second edition in the paperback version. It’s been published in 24 different languages, which is pretty exciting to me.
What does your job entail?
I spend my time travelling all over the world, speaking at conferences and running seminars for companies. Just this year, I did Tokyo, Japan. I did Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I did Mumbai in India. I’ve spoken to a group that you were a part of, although it was virtually, down in Sydney. That’s really a cool part of my job, being able to interact with different people all over the world.
How would you describe the New Rules of PR & Marketing?
It’s really pretty simple because prior to the web, we as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as marketers, basically had three ways to reach people.
- One way we could reach people is buying attention. So that means buying advertising. Buying magazine, radio and television ads; newspaper billboards by the side of the road, direct mail lists and trade show booths. That is one way to generate attention.
- Another way is that you could use traditional media relations and trying to reach people by getting the media to tell your story for you in the editorial section of newspapers, magazines, radio and TV.
- The third way to generate attention is hiring salespeople. If you are a B2B organization you could call people up on the phone or you could do telemarketing. If you have a retail store you could hire salespeople in there to reach people as they come in the store. There’s nothing wrong with any of those ways. I’m not suggesting that people should stop if those things are working.
- But there is another way to generate attention, create really interesting information on the web. It could be a Youtube video. It could be a blog post. It could be a white paper, an e-book, a twitter feed. All sorts of different ways that people can, what I call, earn attention online. Today, everybody is going to the search engines. Everybody is asking their friends, colleagues and family members online for advice on what kind of companies to do business with. If you are not in front of those people, you’re not going to be considered for the work.
What is the first step you would suggest?
The main thing to get going is this concept (it’s pretty hard sometimes for traditional marketers) – nobody really cares about you or your products and what they really care about are themselves. Whether it’s a Youtube video, a blog or a twitter feed, the challenge for people as they’re creating content is – don’t talk about yourself. Don’t talk about your own products and services. Instead, understand really deeply who your buyers are. Who are the people that you are trying to reach? Who are the people who have problems that your product or service can solve?
Then, how can you reach those people by creating something that’s interesting. That’s the biggest challenge because we’ve been taught along the way to hype products and talk about how much better we are than the competition. That really doesn’t work so well when you’re trying to market online because people have a really sensitive B-S detector. They are unlikely to rise to the hype that so many organisations are doing.
When the first edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR came out back in June 2007, I did something that no author had done before. I listed 163 bloggers in the acknowledgements of the book. Then, I told those 163 bloggers that they were in the book by doing a blog post and linking to them. And as any blogger would know, when somebody links to your blog post you know it because it comes up on your Google alerts or you see it in your statistics. You do find out that somebody is talking about you. These blogs were like, “Oh my God, what’s going on? David Scott just wrote about me in his book”. Then, I had a place where they can contact me and get a copy of the book. Interestingly, out of the 163 bloggers that I mentioned, over 100 of them blogged about the book. The reason I mentioned those particular bloggers was because they are people who had helped me. They had either provided some advice, wrote a comment on my blog or read something interesting that I liked and used as I was doing my research. That really got the book jumpstarted because those people were talking it up.
Another thing I did to launch a book that came out in March 2009 called World Wide Rave – I actually did a tweet-up. A tweet-up is when people who know each other in twitter and meet in real life. So, we did a tweet-up at the Stock Exchange in New York City and we actually opened the Stock Exchange. We rang the opening bell and I invited 50 people with me. Everyone was like, “this was so cool”, so these 50 people were tweeting that they were doing this. Then the media heard about it, so it was covered on Fox News. It was covered on CNN. It was covered by The Wall Street Journal and it was covered by National Public Radio in the States. I estimate that 30 million people saw me open the Stock Exchange with my twitter friends and every one of those people heard about the title of the book.
What all these ideas show is that you can get people to talk about you and your stuff. It’s the best form of marketing there is because people are talking you up and that’s not something you can buy. That’s something that you have to earn by doing something interesting and clever and creating some content that people will be willing to share.
In Part 2, David shares:
– how people can overcome their social media fears, specifically the fear of ‘looking stupid’ and people saying ‘bad things’ about you.
– how he met the CEO of General Motors and became a “badvocate” for them.
How do you help people overcome the fear of getting started with social media?
There’s a couple of fears that come up:
- One fear is that people think that they’re gonna look stupid when they first get going. Whenever you start doing anything for the first time, it takes a little while to not feel uncomfortable. I remember about 20 years ago, I spent a lot of time in Sydney. I actually stayed in Manly Beach and taught myself how to surf and I looked like a complete idiot when I was trying to learn how to surf. I was such a dork, you know. I would paddle out and people would look at me and laugh, but I figured it out. I was able to make it happen and I’m still not great at surfing but at least I feel comfortable enough to go out without looking like an idiot. I think part of what happens with the fear factor with jumping onto Twitter or starting a blog, you will feel a little bit uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable the first time I did a blog post and the first time I did a twitter feed. A couple of months ago I got on to Foursquare for the first time and I felt kind of silly when I jumped on to Foursquare for the first time and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.
- The other form of fear that I see is the fear that people will say bad things about you and that fear kind of runs pretty deep with people. A lot of people will resist jumping on to the social networks because they’re afraid that someone will start to say bad things. If they’re going to say bad things, they’re going to say bad things whether you’re there or not – and by the way, it’s very rare that people will take the time to say bad things unless you happened to be in an airline industry. What happens if you then engage those people who were saying negative things is, you can actually turn them around and it ends up being a positive thing. All of a sudden they become your fans. They realise, “Oh my God, this person cares about me. This company cares about me. Even though I said something bad, they’re engaging me. Maybe they’re not such a bad company after all.”
Could you share an example?
I wrote a blog post about General Motors in the summer of last year. It was one day just gone into bankruptcy and they started to come out of bankruptcy and I basically blogged and said “General Motors, you guys are a bunch of nameless, faceless, corporate drones and nobody is paying attention to what you’re doing because we don’t know who you are”. It was really interesting because within an hour or two, the head of social media for General Motors is on my blog commenting and saying, “Well yeah, here I am, I’m a real person”. Oh my God you know, they called me out on this! Interestingly, his name is Christopher Barger, he invited me to Detroit to go to the headquarters of General Motors and I had a half-an-hour meeting with the chairman of General Motors. That’s pretty amazing. I have a popular blog but I’m not a major newspaper or magazine or something. It was pretty interesting that they engaged me that way. They have a term for it, they call it a “badvocate” – a bad person who you turn into an advocate. They worked on me, showed me these new cars, showed me how they do their social media stuff, how they monitor Twitter and how they found me. All of a sudden I’m doing these glowing blog posts about how wonderful they are. They totally turned me around and I knew they were doing it when they were doing it. It’s the CEO of one of the largest companies in the whole world and here I am in his office chatting with him.
Where can people go to find out more about you?
This kind of proves the point. One of the best ways to find me is go to Google and type in the phrase “viral marketing”. Usually I appear on the first page with an e-book I wrote called The New Rules of Viral Marketing, which is a free download. The reason I come up on the first page is because it’s content that is indexed by the search engines. Or you can go to my blog which is www.webinknow.com
Thanks for your time, David. You can follow David on Twitter @dmscott.
Or you can download one of David’s many free e-books (some of which have been downloaded 1,000,000 times):
Gaijin Male Model (2010) – A Case Study in Conflict-Driven Business Writing (PDF – 0.7 MB)
Lose Control of your Marketing (2009) – Why marketing ROI measures lead to failure (PDF – 1.2 MB)
The New Rules of Viral Marketing (2008) – How word-of-mouse spreads your ideas for free (PDF – 1.5 MB)
The Gobbledygook Manifesto (2007) – Chosen for the Viral Marketing Hall of Fame! (PDF – 0.2 MB)
The New Rules of PR (2006) – How to create a press release strategy for reaching buyers directly (PDF – 0.3 MB)
How Will You Create a WORLD WIDE RAVE? (2009) – Making of the Video (PDF – 1.3 MB)
Plus you can you can read his books:
Managed Web Strategy: If you like David’s ideas and need a company to help manage your web strategy, give Bluewire Media a call on 1300 258 394.