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Review – The new rules of Marketing and PR

New rules of marketing book

An excellent introduction to the world of social media marketing (SMM) methods, tactics and strategies in an easily digestible way.

David Meerman Scott’s book “The new rules of marketing and PR” is an excellent look at how to use new releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing and online media to reach buyers directly.

Following on from his 2006 e-book “The new rules of PR“, David Scott’s book looks at the umbrella term of social media marketing and lays out how everyone from Auto Dealership CEOs to even small business owners (ie: tailors, etc) are using everything from blogging to viral marketing to reach their buyers directly.

In his synopsis, Scott says that:

“The Internet has profoundly changed the way people communicate and interact with each other. But it has also changed the way businesses communicate with their customers (and those who they want to be customers). In the old days, companies could only communicate through the filter of expensive advertising or media ink placed by a PR firm.

Today the rules have changed entirely. “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” shows you how to leverage the potential that Web based communication offers your business. Finally, you can speak directly to customers and buyers, establishing a personal link with the those who make your business work. You can reach niche buyers with targeted messages that cost a fraction of your big budget ad campaign. Rather than bombard them with advertising they’ll likely ignore, you can focus on getting the right message to the right people at the right time. When people visit your company’s Web site, they aren’t there to hear your slogan or see your logo again. They want information, interaction, and choice and you’d be a fool not to give it to them.”
– From the inside jacket of David Meerman Scott’s book.

One of the things that really impresses me about Scott’s book is that it is incredibly easy to pick up and read, is easily understandable, and on almost every every page has a real-life case study with plenty of reference footer website links.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Scott’s book almost reads like it’s a two-way conversation between you, and the author — it’s written, almost like a blog entry. Within the first few pages of his book, he writes about how people debated the idea of the using the phrase of “New rules” because it conjured up the concept of something meta-physical; additionally, nearly every other marketing/sales book out there used the word “new rules”.

With Scott’s book however, I don’t feel this is the case because he lays out in a really easily digestible way on why online marketing has changed and how you, whether you have a business or not, can get involved.

The main ethos of Scott’s book is that argues against using non-linear one-way interruption marketing and like his counterpart, Seth Godin, argues for a more permission based marketing strategy that encourages discussion, debate and interaction.

“…Instead of one-way interruption, Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment a buyer needs it”

Naturally, internet marketing is far cheaper than constant permission marketing, I also agree with Scott’s argument that people are incredibly turned off by constant interruption/gimmick marketing ideas that only last for a few weeks. It’s one of the things that Scott picks up early in his book is that the automobile industry is still relying on old marketing gimmicks/tactics to get sales.

“Something is seriousily broken in the automobile business if so many people are unable to find, directly on a company’s website, the information they need to make a purchase descision”

The old rules of marketing.

  • Marketing simply meant advertising and branding
  • Advertising was one-way; company-to-consumer
  • Advertising was exclusively about selling products/lifestyle

(^ There are more old rules in his book)

So, what are the new rules?

Scott’s basic argument is that the web has changed everything.

The new rules

  • Marketing is more than just advertising
  • People want authencity, not spin
  • People want participation, not propaganda
  • You are what you publish
  • The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of being dominated exclusively by those in the know, by those who have the keen ear of an editor, and those with exclusive focus on traditional print media

(^ There are more new rules in his book)

Although Scott argues that mainstream is still important, he suggests that crafting compelling messages to convince people to buy just isn’t going to work anymore.

On almost every page Scott gives real case studies, and his book is littered with “pop-culture” web references. From McDonald’s CEO blog, to the guy who made a fortune from selling Golf Fitness Training system online, to Wine experts. And I’m sure, if he had the time, Scott would have probably included on how the “Star Wars Kid” won fame using the web.

For example, Scott mentions the best selling book “Waiting for your cat to bark?” became number one in the Wall Street Journal’s Business Bestseller list by using permission marketing to encouraging and targeting existing customers, they utilised online PR websites such as PRWeb and build a community buzz that was critical to its success.

Moving away from the theory of what social media marketing is, Scott talks about blogs (how they are misunderstood and how to use them properly), the future of news releases (and how to exploit online PR tools to spread your message globally!), podcasting, social bookmarketing websites, RSS feeds, forums, wikis, making things go viral, etc, etc.

Every page Scott argues geared content not just for search engines, not just for building a brand, but to help communicate directly to the buyers, your customers.

Part two of his book, Scott lays out an action plan for exploiting the new rules, these include: “You are what you publish”, buying personas, online thought readership (ie: branding your organisation as a trusted resource), getting rid of media-spun PR articles in favour of credible, trustworthy commentary and debate.

Later on in the book, Scott teaches you with real-world examples of how to turn your website into a buyer-centric website, including developing a site’s personality, using photos and images to tell a story, using interactive content tools such as blogs to encourage debate, using RSS feeds to deliver web content to targeted niches.


My only criticism of the book would be that, because its written about the web, it can easily become out of date very quickly.

Those who already know the subject of SMM may also find the book adding nothing new to the debate, but for me, I found this a really interesting read — as it clearly lists the “new rules”, why the “old rules” don’t work any more, and what you can do about it.

Scott’s book is an excellent, easy to read, easily digestible introduction and overview of the whole subject of “social media marketing”, and should be on the reading desk of every CEO, and every small business.

Overall: 9/10.

Link: New Rules of Marketing and PR (Amazon)