Keynote Address: The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott

Welcome to SES NY 2010! I’m chilling in the front row of the Grand Ballroom, awaiting the first keynote address of the conference. I’m sitting next to Mel Carson, Microsoft Advertising Community Manager, and he just gave me a tour of Windows Live Writer. This is going to make blogging life so much easier! You can format, include photos and tag from a simple desktop app that pushes to your blog. Want!

Until I get that configured, I can still do this the old-fashioned way, so expect six fat liveblog posts hitting the BCI blog today. It starts right now.

SESNY - David Meerman Scott

We’re kicking off the show with what’s sure to be a power keynote with David Meerman Scott, author of World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories. Find him on Twitter @dmscott.

Just so you know, WebmasterRadio.FM is live streaming all the keynotes of the show so you know where to go if you wanna catch these events live.

After some opening remarks by SES’s Mike Grehan, David takes the stage. He says that Cindy Gordon was tasked with launching the Harry Potter theme park for Universal in Orlando. She could do anything she wanted to market the new park. But all she did was tell seven people. The seven most popular bloggers were told during a secret midnight webcast. From there, you know what happens next. Those seven bloggers immediately told their followers, and then mainstream media picked it up. Word of mouth took over and within 24 hours, 350 million people had heard of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

What we’re about in this room is generating attention. There are so many ways to do this, but it seems we often focus on certain things and ignoring other important things.

He’s going to survey the audience of how the respond to different marketing efforts. In the last 1 to 2 months, privately or professionally, have you:

  • Answered direct mail – .5%
  • Gone to mainstream media to research a product or service – 22%
  • Looked in the Yellow Pages – 4%
  • Used a search engine – 100%
  • Tapped your online network and got back a URL in response – 85%

He says it doesn’t matter what audience you speak to – everyone around the world is answering these questions the same way.

So why are so many companies still focusing on traditional channels? Cindy Gordon said that she thought she would be fired for marketing the Harry Potter theme park by telling 7 people. When David worked at Thompson and was talking about these ideas, he was fired. There was a culture of fear.

Some people would say, that’s great, David, but I don’t have Harry Potter on my team. So here’s another story. A dentist named Helaine Smith was spending $2000 a month on her Yellow Pages ad. She thought there had to be a better way. She started a blog, and then she created an ebook called Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex! that talked about how oral health affects your sex life. It became very popular and was picked up by the mainstream media. She licensed it as creative commons and people shared it. Her company went from $250,000 a year in revenue to $1 million.

She once was called by a movie studio and asked if she could do some emergency tooth work for an actor that was filming in the city. She said sure and Ben Affleck walked in. When she asked him why he called her he said he searched Google for “Boston dentists” and he liked what he saw about her.

Buyer Personas

Did you check out the Hilton’s Web site before you arrived? Every hotel Web site is the same, besides whether the room availability checker is on the left or the right. Imagine how different a hotel Web site would be if they focused on the different hotel buyer personas: business person, corporate travel manager, family choosing a vacation spot, couple organizing a wedding, and event planner.

For a couple getting married, you could include testimonials from other couples that got married. You could have links to bands and entertainment. You could provide so much more for that buyer persona and that content would make that hotel rise up in search rankings.

The Tricycle Concept

A little kid is going to get a bike. Depending on who’s buying it, they’re looking for different things. A parent might want to buy the safest. A grandparent may want the top of the line.

How can you reach your buyer personas and reach them with content that’s interesting to them without stroking your own ego?

There are four ways to generate attention. One of them came about in the new media world.

  1. Old rule: Buy your way in with advertising
  2. Old rule: Beg your in
  3. Old rule: Bug your way in by selling
  4. New rule: Earn attention by publishing your way in

He’s not bashing the old rules if they work for you. But know there’s a new way. Get your customers or other interested people to create content for you. HP did a contest where students submitted video.

HP – invent from Tom and Matt on Vimeo.

“On the Web, you are what you publish.” That’s his favorite quote. If you publish junk, you are junk. If you publish great content, you’re great. If you publish nothing, you are nothing.

Encourage Sharing

He calls this concept “word of mouse.” Think of these six things if you want to encourage people to share your content and your stories.

1. Nobody cares about your products (except you).

People care about themselves. And they care deeply about solving problems. So speak to buyer personas in their language, not in your language.

The smiling, multicultural models that inhabit the conference room images of the Web are not the people that really work for you. Who are these people? This is gobbledy gook language. Speak to buyers in their language, not yours.

2. No coercion required.

There was a site that on the surface was about parents against metal music. It asked parents a series of questions to find out if they were listening to too much offensive music. At the end of the survey, the person is taken to a site for the Toyota Matrix. When David went through this site and ended up at Toyota, he felt violated.

3. Lose control.

It’s difficult to do, especially in large organizations. The Grateful Dead lost control of their music by allowing fans to record and share their concerts. People heard the music coming out of dorm rooms, car stereos, apartments. People got into the music because they were exposed to it by sharing fans. As a result, they became the most popular touring band in history.

The idea that the way we should be measuring ROI based on sales, leads and press clips is outdated. We’re not in an offline world anymore. We can’t keep up the gates.

4. Put down roots.

Understand where your audience is and how to reach them. Henry Postner at B&H Photo Video goes to the forums for photographers and videographers and offers his advice and experience. He isn’t there to sell, he’s there to help. He’s become part of the community that relies on him.

5. Create triggers that encourage people to share.

As the author of a book on viral marketing, he felt a lot of pressure to figure out a viral way to market the book. He was invited to ring the bell at NASDAQ and was able to invite 50 other people. He invited his Twitter followers and quickly signed up 50 people. The trigger was ringing the bell and telling Twitter.

6. Point the world to your doorstep.

Managing Fear

You think you can’t let go of control? The U.S. Air Force is on Twitter and started following David. He messaged them to make sure they were really who they said they were. They said, “Yeah! There’s 12 of us doing social media over here. And we want 330,000 people to be in Public Affairs.” In other words, they want the members of the Air Force to be on social networks. In the business world, 25 percent of businesses block employees from social media. They’re missing an opportunity for brand ambassadors. If the Air Force can do it, you can do it.

A B2B toilet company decided to give creative video marketing a go. This is his favorite video.

High-larious, no? Definitely worth sharing. :)

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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2 Replies to “Keynote Address: The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott”

Wow. You were paying attention AND writing quickly! Thanks for capturing the ideas I discussed.


Nice write up Virginia! Pleasure sharing the front row with you. Get Live Writer here: and see you at the Bing reception tonight!


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