As a mature worker who re-entered the workforce after a brief retirement I considered myself a dinosaur when it came to understanding social media, blogs, and the use of the Internet to create brand awareness and loyalty.
The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott (Second Edition; Wiley, 2011) is not only a good read but makes a marvelous reference manual. Scott sheds incredible light on new age marketing as he explores traditional advertising media and explains why today’s entrepreneur must adopt the new rules, which are constantly evolving.
I asked Krishna Lakkineni, CEO of ROI Media Works in Kamloops, B.C., how many local business establishments had their own websites. Krishna responded with an astonishing 54 per cent. Astonishing in the sense that 46 per cent have not yet embraced new age marketing as a low cost solution to build their brand. To me, that suggests there is a whole lot of unrealized success waiting to be found in the market place.
Scott begins his book with How the Web Has Changed the Rules of Marketing and PR. “If you... have an interesting story to tell, you need to tell it yourself,” he writes. “Fortunately the Web is a terrific place to do so.” Chapter II describes Web-based Communication to Reach Buyers Directly, and begs the question “What is Social Media anyway?” Scott likens it to a cocktail party where many people vie for attention by working the room and handing out their business cards. However, that model only works if it becomes the starting point of a new relationship. “The popular people on the cocktail circuit make friends. People like to do business with people they like, and they are eager to introduce their friends to each other.” Scott uses the metaphor of the web as a city and this is where I became a believer. “Corporate sites are the storefronts on main street ... Craigslist is like the bulletin board at the entrance of the corner store; eBay, is a garage sale; Amazon a bookstore.” Imagine yourself walking down your main street. You walk a block and meet someone you know on the sidewalk, you chat, learn something then move on and meet someone else at the corner; you chat and learn something more, and a business lead and follow-up plan is hatched. Now think of being able to do that every day without leaving your office - that is social networking.
The book itself goes much further in “thinking like a publisher.” The main message I took away was being able to realize that the web and all its related enhancements like blogs, video, online campaigns, news releases and overall content can help my customers reach out to their customers and build upon their existing relationships through electronic means. I highly recommend adding this book to your business library.
Roger Downie is a Commercial Account Manager at BMO Bank of Montreal