August 6, 2009
Staff Picks: The New Rules of Marketing & P.R. - Book Review
Here's what blogcritic.org thought of The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott (Oct. 2008)
This book is definitely a must-read for those involved in the promotion and marketing of products and services. Scott does a wonderful job of covering the soup to nuts process of understanding your story, telling your story and then getting others to tell your story for you. His point is clear and hammered home, the old way of pushing your story via a general broadcast is not only expensive, but ineffective. In today’s world, where pitching a good story to the right people — focusing on the targeted few instead of the masses — is more likely to get many others talking about your story. Focus on your buyers, not your product. How do customers relate to your product? What problem do you solve? What does Starbucks really sell? Write in plain language, in the language of your customers. Invite them to engage in a dialogue instead of broadcasting your monologue. I always preach similar techniques in my marketing practice. It's not about the features of your product/service. In fact, it's not about the product or service at all — it's the relationship that customers have with your wares. What emotional connection — what need — does it satisfy? If you are a fan of novels/movies then think about Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne. Basically, they have the same template: ugly, romantic guy vies against handsome, dumb guy for heart of beautiful girl. In the former, the hero duels with swords and in the latter he duels with tennis racquets. The point is that the template defines the emotional connection — the duel for love — and the nouns, namely the sword or the racquet are irrelevant because they are interchangeable. If we apply the principles from Meerman's book, we'd see that it is paramount to focus on the template, not the instrument, i.e., the buyer and not the product. The New Rules also talks about dialogue instead of monologue, engagement instead of broadcast. The Internet has made the world smaller. If I wanted to, right now, I could find someone online in another country and engage them in conversation. Even better, if I knew that they might have some interest in my product or service, by engaging them in conversation I've revealed that I'm a real person — I exist in the world — and that comfort can easily be translated to a stronger pitch for my wares to a potential customer or a journalist. While reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR, think about the verbs that your customers use and the emotions that you can tap into to strengthen that connection... then get out there and do it.