The New Rules of Marketing & PR

I've never written a multi-part book review, but I already know that no review of David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing & PR could do it justice in a single article.

I've only read four chapters so far and nearly every page has sections highlighted, Post It notes attached or my own additional comments written in the margins. I keep finding myself putting the book down just to think about what Scott is telling me.

In other words, The New Rules of Marketing & PR is such a wealth of information that I am going to give you my reviews on the installment plan as I go along.

So strap yourself in and let's get started.

Let's begin with Scott's experience back in 2006 when he wanted to buy a new car. Like most of us these days, he went online to gather information first.

His first stops were the big three U.S. automakers' websites. "At all three," he said, "I was assaulted on the home page with a barrage of TV-style broadcast advertising. And all the one-way messages focused on price."

"All three of these sites assume that I'm ready to buy a car now. But I actually just wanted to learn something."

Lest we all snicker at how automakers just don't get it, we should recognize that this is the approach most companies are taking with the web. They are simply trying to adapt the old advertising, marketing and PR campaigns to a new media. It's laziness really, rather than learn new strategies, they (meaning most businesses) simply want to slap on the tried and true ways of yesteryear's marketing to the internet without learning the new rules.

The first new rule, according to one of my own aforementioned comments in the margins, is that people search the web for information, not canned commercial messages.

Scott goes on to say:

At each site, I felt as if I was being marketed to with a string of messages that had been developed in a lab or via focus groups...If I had wanted to see TV car ads, I would have flipped on the TV....They were luring me in with one-way messages, not educating me about the companies' products. Guess what? When I arrive at a site, you don't need to grab my attention; you already have it.

Contrast this with the experience Scott had when he found places like Edmund's Car Space, a free consumer-driven social networking site. Here he found photo albums posted by owners of various makes and models, user groups categorized again by makes and models, favorite links of the car owners. He even found over 2,000 messages by owners just on the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

This is the kind of site a person who wants information will seek out, not a site that simply throws advertisements at us. I've said it before, but most sites I look at still remind me of a brochure or some company's Yellow Page ad.

What is so exceptional about The New Rules of Marketing & PR is that Scott provides a roadmap that anyone can use. Whether you are a big company or a mom and pop. A non profit, an artist, a major corporation, a rock band or a church or a politician.

As I confessed earlier, I am just getting the tip of the iceberg so far. But the sweep Scott gives in this book is very impressive. He discusses blogs, podcasts, forums and wikis, viral buzz, YouTube, content-rich web sites (music to my ears), online PR campaigns, thought leadership, SEO press releases, social networking and much more.

In short, The New Rules of Marketing & PR is a college course on how to use the web's new tools to get your message out.

As I said before, I cannot possibly fit this book review in one single article. I plan to make this a series. It is by far the best book on web marketing and PR I've read in a long time. So see you next time.

COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown


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