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Book Review: David Meerman Scott Changes the Rules of Marketing and PR
Learn How Your Business Can Capitalize on Scott's New Rules

If you haven’t already read this 2007 best-seller, run, don’t walk to grab your copy. In “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” Scott explains how the Internet has dramatically changed the effectiveness of old-style marketing and PR.

Before the Internet, businesses had no choice but to spend a ton of money on advertising to attract the attention of consumers interested in their products or services. Typically, companies used advertising designed “to interrupt people to get them to pay attention to a one-way message.” Your product had to appeal to mass audiences and you needed deep pockets to effectively reach consumers using these methods. It was often a "money-pit of wasted resources," Scott explains.

The Web is a place to reach millions of micromarkets with precise messages just at the point of consumption. We need to create many different microsites-with purpose-built landing pages and “just-right” content-each aimed at a narrow target constituency.                                                      

- David Meerman Scott





Now, with the new rules, even the tiniest company can reach potential consumers directly using the Internet's new media and niche marketing. In the past, press releases were designed for the eyes of a few media

 only and your story had to be significant news to have a prayer of gaining coverage. But with Scott’s new rules, any company can create “direct-to-consumer” news releases.




You no longer have to wait for a reporter to tell your story; you can tell it yourself.


What makes Scott’s book especially useful are the examples he uses to demonstrate his points. In one example, he describes how Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo Cycles, created a powerful content site for the buyers of competition bikes, that interweaves compelling stories of the people who win races and the races themselves, with everything you would want to know about the engineering-driven product he offers them. And on each page of his book, Scott cites the related web address so you can check the site out for yourself.


With the stories, Scott demonstrates how a small company, using niche marketing, can sell its products all over the world.


 David Meerman Scott's New Rules1
  • Marketing is more than just advertising.
  • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
  • You are what you publish.
  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
  • Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the Web.
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It's about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.
  • Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It's about your organization winning business.
  • The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.
  • Blogs, podcasts, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • On the Web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred.

1Scott, David Meerman, The New Rules of Marketing & PR; How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly, p. 25-26. John Wiley & Sons. Hoboken, New Jersey. ©2007


In subsequent chapters, he shows how to use blogs, forums, wikis, podcasts, even squidoo lenses to generate buzz about your company and its product, and to follow the events occurring in your industry. Whether it's a viral marketing campaign that turns a little known firm into a recognized expert almost over night or an organization whose content-packed website makes it the recognized leader, Scott shows how the new rules force companies to adapt.


"Think like a publisher" by understanding your audience, Scott says. Consider what marketing problems your buyer personas face, and develop topics to appeal to them. Write for that audience, using stories and examples, the way he does in his book. Great content designed around the problems of your buyer personas is much more important than great design or cool technology, he says.


Scott's book is packed with how-to information that any small business can learn from, including:

  • How to build your marketing and PR plan by starting with your organization’s goals
  • How to identify the buyer personas you will target with your marketing and PR efforts
  • How to create a buyer-centric website
  • How to brand your organization as a trusted resource
  • How to use RSS (real simple syndication) to deliver content directly to buyers
  • How to link content to your sales cycle
  • How to develop “direct-to-consumer” news releases

 There also is plenty of practical stuff:


  • How to use the keywords and phrases your buyers use
  • Why you should include links in your news releases
  • When and how to include appropriate social media tags
  • How to optimize your news releases for searching and browsing
  • When and how to include multimedia content or detailed product specs
  • What background information journalists will need to write stories

It’s easy to understand why Scott’s “New Rules” set off a controversial fire storm in marketing and PR circles, by challenging long-held tenets. And all of Scott’s ideas may not be appropriate for your business. Don’t read the book with an eye to doing just what he says. And don’t feel you have to try all of his ideas at once.


Use the book to stimulate your own thinking about how to tap the power of the Internet to promote your small business. Check out some of the examples and ask yourself how your business could incorporate some of the ideas mentioned in The New Rules of Marketing and PR.


-Marcia Ming



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