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Real-Time Marketing and PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now Hardcover – November 2, 2010
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From the Author: Learning to Think in Real-Time
Could you recognize a marketing or PR opportunity, or threat, in its early stages? Would you know how to respond in real-time to capitalize on the former or stave off the latter? How would you react right now if...
• Your company is cited as the best place to work by your local newspaper?
• A customer raves about your customer service on an influential trade magazine website?
• A well-known industry analyst says on his blog that your company is too difficult to do business with?
• A competitor announces they are lowering prices by 25%?
• Your CEO is fired?
• In forums and chat rooms, people said your product poses a health risk?
• A huge company announces its intent to acquire your competitor?
If you understand how to react quickly to events as they unfold, you will gain superior competitive advantage. Real-Time Marketing & PR will show you how.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
Wake up, it's revolution time! Gone are the days when you could plan out your marketing and public relations programs well in advance and release them on your timetable. It's a real-time world now, and if you're not engaged, then you're on your way to marketplace irrelevance.
"Real time" means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means ideas percolate, then suddenly and unpredictably go viral to a global audience. It's when companies develop (or refine) products or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace. And it's when businesses see an opportunity and are the first to act on it.
Caught up in old, time-consuming processes, too many companies leave themselves fatally exposed by flying blind through this new media environment. You don't have to be among them. Discover Real-Time Marketing and PR and get a clear path to navigate and succeed in the changed business landscape.
In this eye-opening follow-up to The New Rules of Marketing and PR, a BusinessWeek bestseller, David Meerman Scott reveals the proven, practical steps to take your business into the real-time era. Find out how to act and react flexibly as events occur, position your brand in the always-on world of the Web, and avoid embarrassing mistakes and missteps. Real-Time Marketing and PR will also enable you to:
- Develop a business culture that encourages speed over sloth
- Read buying signals as people interact with your online information
- Crowdsource product development, naming, and even marketing materials such as online videos
- Engage reporters to shape stories as they are being written
- Command premium prices by delivering products at speed
- Deploy technology to listen in on millions of online discussions and instantly engage with customers and buyers
Scale and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage. What counts today is speed and agility. While your competitors scramble to adjust, you can seize the initiative, open new channels, and grow your brand. Master Real-Time Marketing and PR today and become the first to act, the first to respond, and the first to win!
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1. The New Competitive Advantage is Speed & Agility
Leverage and Respond to Real-Time News Events. Companies and individuals who leverage current news events to instantaneously communicate with customers (as these events unfold) hold a distinct competitive advantage over larger, bigger budget rivals. These larger rivals value size and scale (not speed). And, that distinction provides significant opportunity for competitive differentiation.
Real-Time Responsiveness Differentiates Important Service Capabilities. Applications of real-time competitive differentiation include:
* Using direct and swift communications in customer service
* Preparing for and moving quickly in crisis communications (aka disaster recovery situations)
* Developing and testing new products / service offerings
* Creating an organizational culture valuing speed and open communications
The Link to Important Business Objectives. All of the aforementioned capabilities achieve one or several of the following business objectives:
* Driving sales revenues
* Saving money (i.e., lower customer acquistion costs)
* Acquiring new customers (e.g., enabiling additional lead generation)
* Strengthening existing customer relationships
2. Real-Time Mindset = Valuing Speed + Moving Quickly at the Right Time
Blinking Means Losing the Advantage. Gaining (or losing) the competitive advantage depends on WHEN you react/respond to breaking news events. Pages 29 thru 31 explain two important concepts why ultra-fast, first movers win in real-time tactics:
* The Real-Time Marketing & PR Power Law
* The Real-Time Law of Normal Distribution
3. Select Your Real-Time Platforms Carefully
Real-Time Differentiation and Capability Isn't Always Obvious - Just Ask Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams. I conducted a back-of-the-envelope analysis of the real-time tools most often cited in Real-Time Marketing & PR. Hands-down, the real-time winner is Twitter.
But, Twitter's differentiating niche wasn't always obvious from its beginnings in July 2006. From FastCompany's November 2010 article, I Want My Twitter TV!, Williams says:
"We didn't know what we were at first. I think it's pretty clear now that Twitter is a real-time information network (e.g., any previous confusion about Twitter being a social network or Facebook is now over)."
Throughout his book, David provides several examples describing how Twitter, TweetDeck and HootSuite are used for important real-time functions:
* Monitoring conversations
* Responding directly to current customers or new, potential customers
* Directing Twitter audience members to long form channels (i.e., the company blog orYouTube) for more details
The New Media Life Cycle Helps in Evaluating the Right Real-Time Platforms (and Avoiding the Wrong Ones). Pages 131 to 135 highlight input and data from Andrew Davis, Chief Strategy Officer at Tippingpoint Labs. Davis explains the New Media Life Cycle as the adoption of any platform (blogging, microblogging, photo sharing, or live video streaming) or content distribution channel (YouTube.com, Slideshare.com, Flickr.com, or Twitter.com).
The New Media Life Cycle openly tracks and analyzes an online platform's current life cycle phase in seven (7) distinct phases:
Early Adopters / First Movers Win. Early adopters understand The New Media Life Cycle, and exploit it to their competitive advantage. They know participating early in an emerging social network matters. Page 134 expains the secret to becoming well known on a social media network is to participate in one that's growing quickly, but is still in the early stage. A perfect example is the fast-growing Empire Avenue - The Social Media Exchange.
Remember Second Life? They're not a Real-Time Player (but Twitter is). Tippingpoint Labs and Google Insights provide data driven examples showing why Second Life is already past its prime (page 134). But, Twitter continues growing and is an outstanding real-time platform (page 135).
4. Managing Crisis Communications Means Real-Time Speed
The Money Insights of Real-Time Marketing & PR. The insights shared on crisis communications and disaster recovery are worth the purchase price alone. Why? The situations described in the book can happen to all of us. No one is immune in a digital age.
In my opinion, these sections require careful study:
* Chapter 7: Crisis Communications and the Media (pages 71-81)
* Chapter 8: What are People Saying About You This Instant? (pages 92-94)
* Chapter 10: Real-Time Customer Connection (pages 124-126)
Build Your Media and Journalist Contacts NOW. David explains how too few organizations (particularly the larger ones) fail to build media and journalist relationships before they need them (i.e., contacts with analysts, editors, and reporters).
Credibility and Trust with Media Contacts Requires Time. A communications crisis requires speed and focus (so you have little to no time). In addition, you compound risk by introducing yourself to your media contacts for the first time.
Five Ways to Build Media and Journalist Relationships. Build your media and journalist relationships before you need them. David provides the following suggestions:
1. Follow the Publications and Its Journalists
2. Comment on Their Stories and Blog Posts
3. Introduce Yourself Via Email
4. Follow Journalists on Twitter and Engage Them in Conversation
5. Earn Their Respect by Providing Valuable Content and Information (e.g. No Spam)
When Disaster Strikes, Refer to the Real-Time Communications Checklist. David provides a 9-Point Crisis Communications Checklist. All of his suggestions should be implemented before the crisis hits:
* Assigning a crisis communications team
* Gathering and storing key contact information inside and outside your organization
* Delegating who's the organization's lead communicator
* Responding through multiple real-time, online channels (i.e., company blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
IMPORTANT: Respond in the same online medium spawning the crisis. If the event happened in YouTube, respond with your own YouTube video.
5. Real-Time Organizations Have Communication Guidelines
Developing Real-Time Communications Guidelines and Roles in Your Organization. Pages 171 -172 provide an 8-Step Checklist for creating and implementing guidelines. In addition on pages 175 - 176, David introduces his take on a new senior executive position: Chief Real Time Communications Officer. On page 176, he explains the job description in a 14-point bulleted list.
IBM, The U.S. Air Force, and Telstra Succeed as Real-Time Communicators. Pages 161 - 173 describe how each organization uses real-time communications, empowers their employees, and publicly shares their guidelines. IBM's guidelines are shared on pages 162 - 170.
Fortune 500 Executives Please Read This Book. Real-Time Marketing & PR is essential and required reading for C-Level executives, communications, marketing, and public relations professionals. As stated earlier, the disaster recovery and crisis communications advice shared makes it a worthwhile investment (especially if you hold that responsibility for a Fortune 500 organization).
Leaders of Small or Medium-Sized Can Outflank the Fortune 500. David describes how small and medium-sized businesses are practicing real-time communications and ringing their respective cash registers. Their commitment to real-time marketing and PR is how they're outflanking larger Fortune 500 competitors.
David has an addictive writing style that's no fluff and is supported by facts and interviews with innovators in the online marketing space. In the book David provides great examples of both successes and failures from startups and major corporations who are tapping in and riding the real-time wave. No matter what size organization or position you are in, you will be able to bring forward ideas and tools from this book that will help your organization tune in and connect with your customer base. I promise your customers will thank you with comments, feedback, and their pocketbooks.
I was able to take what I learned from this book and create an action plan that I presented to my CEO and Board today, who are still figuring out that there is a thing called the internet;) It was well received and will be implemented over the next few weeks and I look forward to the results. Remember the longer you wait in line to be real-time, your walking a fine line to extinction. Definitely go pick up this book when it's released next month and make sure to pass it along to your colleagues. We need more organizations that understand that the market is changing and customers want transparency, input and a real person to answer back not a robot, ghost writer or lifeless auto triggered email.
As a side note David definitely practices what he preaches in regards to real-time response. Since this was an advanced copy, a few links in the book weren't working yet at as his research was being uploaded to his site. I sent him a tweet to let him know and he quickly responded within 10 minutes and promised that they would be up for the book's official release in November. I never would have expected to hear back so quickly from an author I value and like. Keep up the great work David.
REAL-TIME MARKETING & PR is a welcome break from the business book formula.
David Meerman Scott ably and with insight offers realism, suggestions that can be applied and a steady-diet of examples that let the reader know that it is possible to change mind-sets, actions and results. He "pulls no punches" and encourages each of us in business to listen more, act rapidly, adjust often and be willing to be authentic in success (and failure...or, learning moments ;-)).
As David states, success is about changing mind-set. No tool, model or corporate policy can make that happen or hold it back...
Certainly, a timely book and worth the read.
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