I recommend David Meerman Scott’s book for people in the PR and Marketing profession as well as individuals that have an interest in taking control of their PR or have a desire to be able to ask more informed questions of the people that do manage these efforts. While the book makes an effort to speak to beginners, I think you have to be very interested in informing yourself on the practices he describes and have some free time to execute the ideas. Scott discusses how there has been a shift from interruption marketing (commercials and the like) towards delivering value to potential customers in order to build a relationship with them and turn them into more passionate patrons – something we love at Community Cultivator. Topics cover blogs, podcasts, news releases and plugging into PR distribution channels, forums and wikis, viral videos, web site design philosophy, RSS, social networks and more.
The foundation of The New Rules of Marketing & PR is built on the idea that consumers are less and less swayed by glitzy magazine ads and Super Bowl commercials – it is easier for them to better inform themselves about options and the organizations that provide those options. Scott presents case studies and thought experiments for today’s consumer. If you are going to buy a car and go to an auto manufacturer’s website, you are more likely to be interested in tangible information about their offering rather than being informed of a “72-hour sale.” You most likely want to know details about their product (example from page 1 of the book).
With so much information easily available nowadays, people are more interested in providers that make it easy to determine if their offering meets the consumer’s needs. I personally hope this is true since I have never been good at the soft sell . That idea leads into a discussion of what your website should be … essentially a source of relevant information that educates potential customers and treats them as an intelligent audience. This is the first step in building the relationship.
The book continues to discuss what I refer to as the theory of “be everywhere your patrons are.” Some people read blogs, some subscribe to RSS, some are on social networks and, in an ideal world, your message is available in all of the relevant channels. Scott refers to this idea as Thinking like a Publisher:
It is about delivering content when and where it is needed and, in the process, branding your organization as a leader…. What works is a focus on your buyers and their problems. What fails is an egocentric display of your products and service.
The book does a good job at covering the various tools available (I have the Publishing News Releases Through a Distribution Service section bookmarked for follow up) and includes key concepts about how and when to use these resources as well as a framework for designing your PR strategy. Scott recognizes the fact that his readers may only use a fraction of the suggestions he recommends and emphasizes you should take advantage of what makes sense for you.
My summary is that I think The New Rules of Marketing & PR is good for 1) existing PR and Marketing professionals or 2) individuals that are aware that the world has changed regarding how to reach target audiences, but are a little overwhelmed and struggling with how to make sense of it all.
NOTE: David Meerman Scott’s blog can be found at http://www.webinknow.com/