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August 21, 2009


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Jennifer Shaheen

I want to thank you for this post. I run into everything above and it really is fear. I have found when I break down things for my clients into bite sizes pieces it has helped remove the fear.

I know the other fear I hear is - The Fear of Trying to keep up. I always tell people it's not a race. Move at your own pace and like you said above "Just get going!"

Janice Brown

*Great* article. The best advice: get out of the Echo Chamber of your own industry. Great ideas are everywhere.

Amanda O'Brien

What a fantastic post (again). This is easily the topic I talk to people about the most as well. Changing from "the way we have always done it" to something new and perhaps untested is very, very scary and overwhelming. You are correct - if you wait for the case study of the company just like you who had x amount of success when it gets to be your turn... it will already have been done before. Someone has to be the pioneer!

Jonathan Kranz

Great stuff, David! My favorite non-reason is the "none of my competitors is doing it" excuse. But if none of your competitors is doing it, isn't it possible you'll enjoy an extraordinary advantage when YOU do it?

Jeff Bullas

Interesting post.. I bought your book last year and use it as a resource constantly. I have been blogging for 6 months now and loving it. I quote and promote your book to friends and clients. There are a couple of recent blogs that touch on some of your points in this post that you might find of interest at jeffbullas.com
28 Reasons Why The CEO Is Afraid Of Social Media and 8 Reasons Why Social Media is Such a Powerful Marketing Medium. Love your work Cheers Jeff

Dave Wilkinson

Damn good article. Just been looking at the rest of your stuff as well. I think I have some learning to do.

The interesting thing is I came in on a link about FEAR which is my bag (http://www.fearcourse/blog) and got drawn into to your bag. Good content works! As does having good products.

Many thanks.

monica levy

i think what's interesting about this is that fear can also be a hugely important element in making sale. how often have you purchased something you really didn't need at the time because you were *afraid* it wouldn't be available, or at the same price, or in the same color, sometime in the future?

what if we as marketers tried using fear to sell participation in SM to our bosses (and other unbelievers)?

Steve Thomas

Whoa David! It's like you're reading minds again. Fear is such a killer yet I live with it every day (and I've come to realize that most people do, too). So many of the people I know work in environments where there is zero tolerance for failure so fear of failing overcomes the drive to produce something dazzling by risking a daring move...and fear wins because we freeze.
Thanks for reminding me to be daring today.
As always, love the way you think.

Adam Dyer

Great article. One of the biggest push backs I get from trying to get clients to work within social media is their unwillingness to accept the value, which is clearly just a way of clients avoiding learning something new.


Great article. I have been using your New Rules of Marketing and PR to help generate awareness for boston.sportsthenandnow.com/. After I was laid off, I was approached my a former colleague to blog and help market this site. My blogging skills have also made me a featured contributor on Trufan.com.

I have used Twitter, Facebook, and social bookmarking to promote the boston.sportsthenandnow.com site. Its only been a month and its picking up steam. I am excited and it has kept me sane trough these jobless days.

Thank you David!

David Meerman Scott

Seems like this post has resonated. Many thanks for the comments. I was worried about the one word blog title!!

Colin Warwick

For another fear, think back to 1993 when David Letterman left NBC to join CBS. Remember all the fuss about "intellectual property" and the Letterman brand versus the NBC brand? On a smaller scale, companies fear that when customers engage in social media conversations with a specific person, rather than a collective customer support pool, it may cause problems if the person moves on. In part it's a vaild concern that need to be addressed fairly. What do you think?

Justin Bartz

There's nothing to fear but fear itself... and the thought of your competition fearlessly pursuing online marketing, so that should tell you it's time to do the same.

Colin Warwick

Further to the "other fear" topic in my earlier comment, I just found this post about ESPN's fear causing it to seek to "own" its employees social media presence: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/dear-espn-youre-doing-it-wrong/

David Meerman Scott

Colin - sure that's a valid point. What if you were to leave Agilent? But it is not a reason to simply do nothing.

Alex Lim

This post is really timely, good discussion!
Fear is one big factor that holds back beginner and even people who have been in the business towards making a big step forward. While others have identified their fear, the rest are still figuring out what are the things that hindered them from trying. I think identifying what you are mainly afraid of will make an effective decision in putting a plan of how to overcome it. Success is sweet once you master the field which you are once afraid of.

I guess fear of what might people will say and think about you is a main thought of the article. Of course no one wants to be degraded. However, we can’t deny how these words of critics push us to improve and learn beyond our limits and imagination.ss

Columbus SEO

very nice,Great article and incredible post about Fear.
i visited many blogs but couldn't find such valuable info. i willdefinetly add this to my blogroll.

Matjaz Bevk

Exellent! This is so true. I tried to eliminate fear several times with questionable results. Now I have a nice source of fresh arguments to help me in the future. Thank you!

Vic of BusinessAccent

Very timely article. Thanks for sharing it. Fear is a fact and we can't deny it. Fear also has two types. The destructive fear and the beneficial fear. The destructive fear is a waste of time. The beneficial fear is the one which is handled by knowledgeable people.

Omar Halabieh

Hi David,

Excellent post, and great comments from all the contributors. One of the type of fears I always encounter is companies being afraid that information shared/posted might be considered as giving away secrets to the competition. I think this is a highly abused excuse. There needs to be a more pragmatic approach to this issue to really understand and make clear what constitutes classified/competitive information from what doesn't. A big part of the new rules of marketing is sharing more information and better educating one's customers and without the above, this is difficult to accomplish.


Adi @ The Management Blog

It's a shame that fear of inertia doesn't hold the same power over people as the fear of failure.


Great post and very well said! This post hits so close to home for me and describes exactly the reason I waited so long to finally voice my thoughts about online marketing. Out of fear of people criticizing me too much, I held in how I really felt. For a year I was trying to learn online marketing and how to set up a good blog. I absolutely detested the marketing strategies that so many marketers were using online, but I was too scared to step up and say something. After a year of holding in this frustration something ironic happened and I finally found my blog voice. It was time for me to share with the world my insight. Now, my blog isn't up just yet, but its getting the final touches and will be ready shortly to scream out to the world how toni feels about things. That fear held me back but I'm not scared anymore to say how I feel even if someone chooses to criticize. Number one, I don't have the time to worry about competition and number 2, I know that the insight I have to offer is unique and authentic.

David Meerman Scott

Adi - what a great quote. I just tweeted it.

David Meerman Scott

Toni - Good for you to find your blog voice. The world wants to hear what you have to say. Get it out there!

Adi @ The Management Blog

Thanks David :) Opportunity cost seems to be something used quite extensively at the strategic level but seldom is it used at a tactical level. Obviously you can't afford to be too wreckless but I'm all in favour of showing some cohones and giving things a go.

Joe Ray

Well put, David! As far as the "none of my competitors is doing it" excuse goes- it's pretty typical of the follow the leader mentality that's prevalent out there and may stay until spinal implants take place...or those people lose their jobs/businesses.

What better time to act on this than now?!?!

John Kreiss

Great post David. The example of Brack Obama becoming President using the New Rules is powerful.

John P. Kreiss
SullivanKreiss, Inc.

Ben Merrion

Great post! As you stated, I really like how you give different examples from all types of organizations. I work for the DC Public Library and do adult literacy outreach. Due in large part to reading "The New Rules of Marketing and PR," I have initiated a partnership with a non-profit literacy coalition to host an adult literacy blog on their website to try to heighten the awareness of adult literacy as an important social issue. It is really scary trying to do something new, so I really appreciate the ideas in this post and others like it. Thanks!

David Meerman Scott

Ben - Thanks for offering your example from the nonprofit world. Reminds all of us that this is not just a fear within corporations.

Jeff Rutherford

Great post David. Fear definitely holds a lot of companies - and people - back from fully engaging in social media.

In addition, as you pointed out, when you first begin writing a blog or recording videos or recording a podcast, it often feels awkward and unnerving.

I think there's a certain social media self-consciousness that is often lost in the many discussions and admonitions to "join the conversation."

I recently blogged about "social media self-consciousness" - http://jeffrutherford.com/social-media-self-consciousness


Since I've read in your book that people can write and be passionate about concrete, the myth "it doesn't work in our industry" is gone. But i do have my fears and step by step I'm trying to overcome them.

Great post, thank you.

Robert Garrard, Garrard Consulting

Thank Y0U. You Challenged us. You challenged me.
Just like Marshall McCluhan said:
the medium is the message.
And like Drucker said:
Management is management of Change.

Bob Williams

I'll add fear of being sued with an excuse that we are publicly traded and can't just be publishing stuff out there for public consumption.

Lisa Pecunia

Another excellent post David. I hope my competitors aren't reading your stuff :-).


Hi David, Excellent post as always! Talking to marketers around me, they tend to go spending their budgets on the "old school" marketing which is proven BUT today not as efficient as the new rules of marketing & PR.
I had participated in David's presentation few months back and was fascinating! When I came back to my office, I have decided to "give it a try" and show these "old marketers" how the new marketing works and remove that fear.
I gathered my team, a "camera man", props guy, played good music and invited our company employees to dance. It was a great fun and I’m now trying to promote it to become viral!

To help UNISEF help children in need we call our employees to dance in the corridors and encourage donations - Video - http://bit.ly/97hDEo


My parents learned skiing at the age of 47. Beginning was hard but the braking point for them was when they stooped to fear what others say or how bad r they doing. After that moment, when they realized to drop it simply started having fun, and progress had come.

All the best

David Meerman Scott

Wojteksz: Same thing happened to me when I learned how to surf at age 30.


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