DMScott Says: "Lose Control of Your Marketing!"
David Meerman Scott kicked off his session at the Simmons Leadership Conference on April 30 with a story from his wildly popular e-book, The New Rules of Viral Marketing. When Cindy Gordon, VP of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resorts launched the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction, she didn't spend millions on ad and PR campaigns. Instead, she briefed 7 bloggers - but they were the right 7 people. They were icons in the the Potter fan base, and they in turn spread the word. Gordon estimates that within 24 hours of telling 7 people, 350 million people had heard of the new attraction.
Scott then shifted gears to ask the audience a series of questions, including this one:
In the last 12 months, privately or professionally, when researching a product or professional service:
- Has anyone answered a direct mail piece? 3% of room
- Has anyone gone to the print yellow pages? 12%
- Used a print publication? 42%
- Google - everybody!
- Tapped your private network for an opinion? 80%
- Have you watched a video online? nearly everybody
Another example of changing the way we market: Every hotel website around the world is exactly the same. Why? Because hotels focus on the product (the pillows, the shrimp!), but they don't focus on the buyer personae. Think about the different hotel customers - the independent business traveller, the corporate travel manager for a large company (one person making decisions for hundreds), the event planners, etc. It would be so much more effective if they tailored the site for different buyer personae.
Don't market your products; market to your buyers! Scott used the example of Hubspot (full disclosure - he serves on the board), which has developed names for its typical buyers.
"Nobody cares about your products (except you). They care about themselves and their problems," Scott said.
Here's another novel idea. Scott speaks in front of 50,000 people per year. While he's doing his presentations, his laptop lid is up of course. So he's selling ads on the lid of his PC; it's covered with stickers! Century21 took him up on that.
Scott's encouraging us to think different (nod to Apple for this ungrammatical gift to the English language) and to move beyond the conventional marketing tools we grew up with. We can earn attention by publishing an e-book, a webinar, a blog, a great website, an ad on a laptop lid!
In response to a question about the dangers of blogging if you're in a regulated industry like financial services, Scott said: "That's a fear-driven myth. 'I work for a pharma company; we can't communicate that way.' They're really saying: 'I'm scared to do this.' There's no regulation that prevents you from talking with your customers. You do it all the time!"
Go to a blog called "Running a Hospital." It's by Paul Levy, who runs Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He says whatever he wants. (Of course, Levy is saying a little more than he'd probably prefer to right now about his relationship with a staffer, but he has even blogged about that.)
Another question: Do you charge for your e-books? His e-book on viral marketing has been downloaded (for free) a million times. But that drives interest in his print books, such as the bestseller, World Wide Rave.
Scott observed that in marketing and PR and most businesses, we have an MBA-style planning process. We plan for stuff that's really far in the future. What the Web is allowing us to do, is to work RIGHT NOW! Suppose your biggest competitor just went bankrupt? What if your CEO was just arrested? What if the U.S. Government announced that your product was suddenly tax free.
Social media is a key tool and real-time marketing is now.
Scott relayed the example of an Air Force captain who responded to a Drudge Report story citing a $1.4M door at a San Antonio Air Force Base. At first blush, it sounded like an example of excess government spending. It turns out this was the door that protects a B1 bomber that's worth millions. The captain saw the Drudge story, posted a photo on his blog of the massive, complex door, along with a story on the AF website. Because of his real-time response, he killed the story. This played out over an hour. (Scott has written pretty extensively about the Air Force's use of social media.)
Then we have the entertaining example of the hysterical "United Breaks Guitars" video series, posted by musician Dave Carroll. Carroll took a flight on United Airlines, and watched, in horror, from his seat on the plane as baggage staffers threw his guitar onto the baggage cart. Surprise - his Taylor guitar was broken when he claimed it. After a year of trying to get United to pay for it, with no luck, Carroll posted his video on YouTube. It's so sharable; on the first day it got picked up by about 15 bloggers, and then eventually by the mainstream media, Scott explained.
In another example of real-time marketing, Bob Taylor (of Taylor Guitars) quickly did a (dead serious) YouTube video of travel tips for packing and traveling with your guitar.
What should United have done? Scott noted that United's legal team likely recommended no response. But what if United's head of baggage handling had done a video on what has to happen to get baggage from point A to B? How about a suitcase-cam? United needn't have said "We were wrong."
The incident has definitely boosted Carroll's career. He's been asked to do songs for other artists. He's getting more bookings. He's making money on cases. He's speaking at customer service conferences!
Other great examples of innovative marketing:
TechWise TV from Cisco - Information you can use from Geeks you can trust.
Girls Fight Back - Founded by Erin Weed, a personal safety and self-defense expert. Weed teaches girls and women how to protect themselves. Her main marketing technique - She asks girls to put away their mobile phones at the beginning of a session. At the end she asks them to take them out to take pix and videos of girls defending themselves, practicing moves. And then those pix get posted on Facebook. That's invaluable, because that's where her audience lives. She has trained 500,000 girls to defend themselves.
CWS - Complete Washroom Solutions - A German company wanted to get out the word on its rotating toilet seat covers (the kind you see in airports). This memorable commercial certainly does the job, as only the Europeans can!