MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

Thank you Robert Scoble!

I want to thank Robert Scoble for writing the terrific forward to The New Rules of Marketing & PR!

What makes his generosity especially remarkable is that I have never met Robert. The only real connection we share is that his book Naked Conversations was also published by Wiley. The foreword Robert wrote is just brilliant. It sets up what I write about in my book perfectly. Robert obviously took time to do this – for someone he only knows from a few emails and blog posts. Thank you Robert!

Foreword to The New Rules of Marketing & PR

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You're not supposed to be able to do what David Meerman Scott is about to tell you in this book. You're not supposed to be able to carry around a $250 video camera, record what employees are working on and what they think of the products they built, and publish those videos on the Internet. But that's what I did at Microsoft, building an audience of more than four million unique visitors a month.

You're not supposed to be able to do what Stormhoek did. A winery in South Africa, it doubled sales in a year using the principles discussed here.

You're not supposed to be able to run a Presidential Campaign with just a blogger, a videographer, and a Flickr photographer. But that’s what John Edwards did in December 2006 as he announced he was running for President.

Something has changed in the past 10 years. Well, for one, we have Google now, but that's only a part of the puzzle.

What really has happened is the word-of-mouth network has gotten more efficient. Much, much, more efficient.

Word-of-mouth has always been important to business. When I helped run a Silicon Valley camera store in the 1980s about 80% of my sales came from it. "Where should I buy a camera this weekend," you might have heard in a lunchroom back then. Today that conversation is happening online. But, instead of only being two people talking about your business, now thousands and sometimes millions (Engadget had 10 million page views in a single day during the Consumer Electronics and MacWorld shows in January 2006) are either participating or listening in.

What does this mean? Well, now there's a new media to deal with. Your PR teams better understand what drives this new media (it's as influential as the New York Times or CNN now) and if you understand how to use it you can drive buzz, new product feedback, sales, and more.

But first you’ll have to learn to break the rules.

Is your marketing department saying you need to spend $80,000 to do a single video (not unusual, even in today's world, I just participated in such a video for a sponsor of mine)? If so, tell that department "thanks, but no thanks." Or, even better, search Google for "will it blend?" You’ll find a Utah blender company that got six million downloads in less than 10 days. Oh, and 10,000 comments in the same period of time. All by spending a few hundred bucks, recording a one-minute long video, and uploading that to YouTube.

Or, study what I did at Microsoft with a blog and a video camera. Economist magazine said I put a human face on Microsoft. Imagine that. A 60,000-employee organization and I changed its image with very little expense and hardly a committee in sight.

This advice isn't for everyone, though. Most people don't like running fast in business. They feel more comfortable if there's lots of checks and balances. Er, committees to cover their asses. Or, they don't want to destroy the morale of PR and marketing departments due to the disintermediating effects of the Internet.

After all, we can type "OneNote Blog" into Google or Live.com, or Yahoo and you'll find Chris Pratley. He runs the OneNote team at Microsoft. Or, search for "Sun CEO." You’ll find Jonathan Schwartz and his blog.

You can leave either a comment and tell them their product sucks and see what they do in response. Or, even better, tell them how to earn your sale. Do they snap into place?

It's a new world you’re about to enter. One where relationships with influentials AND search engine optimization strategy are just as important as each other. One where your news will be passed around the world very quickly. Don't believe me?

Look at how the world found out I was leaving Microsoft for a Silicon Valley startup (PodTech.net).

I told 15 people at a videoblogging conference. Not "A listers" either. Just everyday videobloggers. I asked them not to tell anyone until Tuesday – this was on a Saturday afternoon and I still hasn’t really told my boss.

Well, of course someone leaked that information. But, it didn't pop up in the New York Times. It wasn't discussed on CNN. No, it was a blogger I had never even heard of that posted the info first.

Within hours it was on hundreds of other blogs. Within two days it was on the Wall Street Journal, in the New York Times, on the front page of the BBC, in Business Week, Economist, in more than 140 newspapers around the world (friends called me from Australia, Germany, Israel, and England, among other countries) and other places. Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR agency, was keeping track and said that about 50 million media impressions occurred on my name in the first week.

All due to 15 conversations.

Whoa, what's up here? Well, if you have a story worth repeating bloggers, podcasters, and videobloggers (among other influentials) will repeat your story all over the world. Potentially bringing hundreds of thousands or millions of people your way. One link on a site like Digg alone could bring tens of thousands of visitors.

How did that happen?

Well, for one, lots of people knew me, knew my phone number, knew what kind of car I drove, knew my wife and son, knew my best friends, knew where I worked and had heard me in about 700 videos that I posted at http://channel9.msdn.com on behalf of Microsoft.

They also knew where I went to college (and high school, and middle school), and countless other details about me. How do you know they know all this? Well, they wrote a page on Wikipedia about me at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Scoble -- not a single thing on that page was authored by me.

What did all that knowledge of me turn into? Credibility and authority. Translation: people knew me, knew where I was coming from, knew I was passionate and authoritative about technology, and came to trust me where they wouldn’t trust most corporate authorities.

By reading this book you'll understand how to gain the credibility you need to build your business. Enjoy!

Robert Scoble
Vice President Media Development, PodTech.net
co-author Naked Conversations
Scobleizer.com

David Meerman Scott

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