The Old Rules vs. the New Rules – ReachForce Book Club

In the first chapter of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott really lays the framework for the old school way of running marketing and PR. In case you have not yet received your book or didn’t get a chance to start reading, here are the old rules given by Scott:

The Old Rules of Marketing

  • Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding).
  • Advertising needed to appeal to the masses.
  • Advertising relied on interrupting people to get them to pay attention to a message.
  • Advertising was one-way: company-to-consumer.
  • Advertising was exclusively about selling products.
  • Advertising was based on campaigns that had a limited life.
  • Creativity was deemed the most important component to advertising.
  • It was more important for the ad agency to win advertising awards than for the client to win new customers.
  • Advertising and PR were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies and measurement criteria.

The Old Rules of PR

  • The only way to get ink was through the media
  • Companies communicated to journalists via press releases.
  • Nobody saw the actual press releases except for a handful of reporters and editors.
  • Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release.
  • Jargon was okay because the journalists all understood it.
  • You weren’t supposed to send a release unless it included quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts.
  • The only way buyers would learn about the press release’s content was if the media wrote a story about it.
  • The only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through “clip books,” which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company’s release.
  • PR and Marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement techniques.

I’ll admit, I am really too young to remember the days of the old rules. Do any of you out there who have been doing this a while really think that your organization functioned like this? To me, smaller companies have always had to be renegade and with the advent of the web now really have the venue they have been waiting for.

Here are what Scott outlines as the new rules:

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

  • Marketing is more than just advertising
  • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
  • You are what you publish
  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
  • Marketers must shift their thinking from main-stream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the Web.
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the web.
  • Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business.
  • The internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.
  • Blogs, podcasts, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a from they appreciate.
  • On the Web, the lines between maketing and PR have blurred.

Although I would say I am far from old school, I can’t say I am still completely hip to all of the new rules. I hope that as a group we can learn from David Meerman Scott and from each other. Since the publishing of this book there have been even more advances and new technologies via the web which I hope we can help teach each other about. What do you hope to learn from reading this book and participating in the book club?

Showing 5 comments
  • Cody Young @ Reachforce

    In these opening pages, I think Scott is going a good job bringing the reader’s mind to the place it needs to be for accepting the old school, new school paradigm shift. It’s easy to say that the internet has created for today’s marketer a vast and powerful tool box of rule changing communications channels, but a deeper message about marketing accountability can also be found.

    Most marketers are familiar with the quote from the man who brought us the department store, John Wanamaker. It goes: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.”

    Those of us who have been around the horn a time or two remember – sadly – that Mr. Wanamaker’s lament was not only true, but for far too many years it was considered acceptable. If 1-2% response rates were considered successful, then like the local weather man it seemed not to matter that we were wrong 98% of the time.

    Take another look at Leigh Anne’s outline comparing characteristics of old and new school rules from the perspective of it being a trust building process – which is really what marketing is. The internet has not only advanced how we find the right audience, but also how we engage with highly credible, transparent and meaningful dialog that produce measureable results.

    I hate to steal a FOX News mantra, but it seems one of the biggest improvements the new rules offer is that THE SPIN STOPS here.

  • Drew Sollberger

    As Cody mentioned, marketing is a trust-building process. David Meerman Scott hit on that with his point that marketing is about educating your prospects, not selling to them. To point out Leigh Anne’s outline again, check out the 3rd, 4th, and 5th bullet points. Educating your customers sounds easy enough, but there’s almost an innate responsibility, similar to that assumed by journalists, that comes with it.

    Consider the Volkswagen TV ads from a decade ago. When the Touareg was first released, it was touted as having a higher ground clearance than a Jetta. That’s right, a Jetta, manufactured and sold by the very same company. It would’ve been easy enough to compare the Touareg to any number of cars made by competitors, but VW stuck to their own line. I found myself more trusting of them, simply because they presented their own vehicles as having unique strengths that would appeal differently to different customers.

    The point is, you have to establish yourself as an educator to your customers by the way you market to them. If you come across as a biased source of information, customers will hesitate to trust you. If, however, you provide a learning arena where your customers can peruse and exchange information freely, you may cease being a vendor and become a partner to your customers.

  • Laura Koether

    Being a recent college grad, online and social media is not so new to me since I did it on a personal level all through college. Actually, it is what landed me the job I have now here at ReachForce in charge of online media.

    I am hoping I can take away from this book how to take what I already know about socal media and implement that in my professional life. As his last point said, “On the Web, the lines between maketing and PR have blurred” I absolutely agree.

    I am sitting in the Marketing department with a PR title, because for us PR is a tactic used under Marketing. I haven’t written a press release yet, but instead I have used ways online (like Facebook, Twitter and Sphinn) to communicate directly with prospects,customers and the public.

  • Lauren Kincke

    I’m sure this makes me a big book nerd but included in the reading I did, I read through the foreword, I found it particularly interesting because much of my background is not with tech-savvy/web 2.0 friendly companies, but more along the lines of companies who banned social media at work. The foreword is written by Robert Scoble, in it he discusses a video-blog he published at Microsoft that eventually drew an audience of four million unique visitors. His video captured a “behind the scenes” look within a sector of Microsoft, recording what people were working on at a particular time. This example is intriguing to me for a few reasons, one I see it as a clear demonstration of the small amount of budget really required to start a project that can have a large impact (Scoble said something like $250 for a camera), two, it follows the new rules in that it isn’t just advertising…this is something new, different and some might say educational. Three, this idea also means there are nearly limitless possibilities for involvement from a multitude of users within an organization, I think it’s very cool. In a way it democratizes the public face of a company, the old rules meant that a small segment was the “face” of an organization and created the image, the new rules mean that many more hands play a part in the creation (or destruction) of a company’s public image. I agree 100% with Cody’s sentiment that the new rules mean a more transparent organization as well and that they only enhance the credibility of an organization and it’s message.

  • Brad Saxon

    I just wanted to take a moment to address some of the ‘New Rules’ bullets:

    • Marketing is more than just advertising

    I’m not sure where the defining boundaries of marketing are anymore if any still exist. Marketing communications and tactics permeate sales processes, operational standards, and yes… even are a key influence on software development strategies.

    • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.

    I’ve always seen PR as a specialized subset of marketing. Just like contemporary marketing endeavors, PR can require the use of ‘viral’ communication tactics and the use of new media to help build The Brand.

    • You are what you publish

    Just as in the old ‘.com’ days of the late 1990s, a company’s corporate website was said to BE its brand. A company’s messaging, products and services, and customer/audience experience is inseparable from how your company is perceived in the marketplace.

    • People want authenticity, not spin.

    The average consumer has been absolutely saturated with advertising. From newspaper and magazine ads to television and internet, the number of ads an average individual is exposed to is thousands a day. If an ad seems the slightest bit pretentious, a savvy consumer will blot it out of their perception. I think in B@B marketplaces this is especially true.

    • People want participation, not propaganda

    The days of ‘magic bullet’ media models and grandiose propaganda are long over. The power of today’s social and interactive media creates multi-layered user experiences. When a user can be stimulated simultaneously on multiple cognitive and visceral levels… much more depth of knowledge and understanding can be gained.

    • Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.

    You’ve heard the old saying that ‘timing is everything’ in business or otherwise… and it is mostly true. If you can reach the right audience at the right time your message can have a contextual impact which will really resonate.