This is a guest post from David Meerman Scott, thought leadership and viral marketing strategist and the author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to use news releases, blogs, podcasts, viral marketing and online media to reach your buyers directly”.
For decades, B2B marketing and PR has focused on only two ways to get noticed, buy your way in with advertising or beg your way in with PR. B2B marketing and PR people have operated under the assumption that you either had to pay big bucks for ads, tradeshows, and direct mail, or rely on magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV to tell your story. That approach might have worked fine when the only way that people found answers to problems was to search tradeshows, Read industry journals, rely on “experts” (analysts) advice and opinions, and interact with company salespeople.
But now buyers are finding answers to their problems online. They search Google, read online portals and news sites, listen to bloggers’ advice and opinions, pay attention to word-of-mouse from peers and friends, and visit company websites
So what’s a marketer to do? The answer is to think like a publisher and create compelling online content in the form of YouTube videos, online news releases, blogs, podcasts, and online media to reach your buyers directly. Each of these things also has an opportunity to go viral, with others telling your story.
Being successful means, as Yoda said in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back: “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Old rule: Buy your way in with advertising
As marketing people, we’ve all learned rules that worked in the offline world. But to succeed on the Web using the new rules, old habits must be unlearned.
“Stop shouting BUY MY PRODUCT” (people turn off overt advertising, especially online). You need to unlearn the marketing habit of constantly pitching your product. Instead create content to help people answer their problems.
Old rule: Beg your way in with PR
- Your buyers are not nameless faceless metrics. They are people like you and me who want to consume valuable content.
- You must unlearn the idea that media and analysts are the only ones who can tell your story. Instead, the web has made PR public again.
New Rule: Publish your way in with great content that your buyers want to consume.
- You must unlearn interrupting people with “messages.” Instead, publish online content they want to consume
- You must unlearn the use of gobbledygook about your products and services. Instead start from the problems and needs of your buyer personas.
- You must unlearn spin. Instead, understand that people crave authenticity and transparency.
- You must unlearn being egotistical and trying to force people to adapt to your terms. Instead create online content people want to consume
- You must unlearn the assumption that you must buy access. Instead, create something that goes viral and let millions of people tell your story for you.
- You must unlearn the idea that the “clip book” is the only way to measure your communications efforts. Instead, consider how you can reach people directly.
- You must unlearn the idea that “leads” are the only way to measure your marketing efforts. Instead, consider how you are engaging your buyers and building a position as a trusted resource.