Posts Tagged ‘David Meerman Scott’

Back to basics (and who’s in control?)

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

I’ve been quite fascinated by some of the blog reading I’ve been doing lateley, which has – again – got me thinking.  My inspiration this week comes from two people I’ve referenced in the past (David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin) as well as Charlene Li. 

Let me start off by saying I think there is real brilliance and power in “the basics”. 

When I started reading David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR the concept of personas really hit home with me.  I know this concept has been talked about for a while now – persona is the new target audience we used to talk about.  In some ways it’s the same concept – and reinforces the importance of always starting with who your target audience is – but it takes this one step further and provides greater “segmentation” and detail which then allows a marketer to be much more effective.  If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of “basics” which stand the test of time. This is one basic that has perhaps evolved with time, yet still stands the test of time, in a more appropriate way.  I think the world of social media has really pushed this evolution – in large part because this new world is all about personal interaction and relationships. Yet at the same time, it’s a pretty basic tenet at play. 

The other reason why I’ve been intrigued by this persona concept is that it reinforces where you should always start as a marketer.  I know in my work with clients, I always start with two questions:  1. what are you trying to accomplish? – your objective – and 2) who is your target audience?  This persona/target audience point is so important because in the new world of social media – and arguably even before – this is where the power base shifted to…consumers.  They are the ones in control. They shape your brand. In some ways they “own” your brand. 

Then in reading Charlene Li’s blog posting “Can you control your customers?” this point about who’s in control came through loud and clear.  I wonder in some ways if some companies/brands are still in denial about the “new reality”, or if they actually believe they can try to take back control?  I think a more realistic reality is how they can effectively participate in this new world so that the end result is in their favour, even if they can’t control it.

To round things out – and since three is a good number for making a point! –Seth Godin’s recent blog posting entitled “8 questions and why” really hit the nail on the head and tied things together for me…back to basics + the consumer.  His blog was simply a list of 8 really basic questions (followed by the question “why” for each) any business should be asking itself.  I thought it was brilliant for two reasons. First, that his post would simply be this list – nothing more, no preamble, no summary – just the list, accompanied by its simple yet provocative headline.  Second, that his questions in and of themselves were brilliantly basic, grounding any business in what it needs to know and focus on to be successful – what should really matter…the basics.  And of course, he starts and finishes with a question about the consumer.  

So what do you think about “back to basics”, and who’s in control?

What “public” really means…

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I’ve been thinking about the concept of the word “public” for some time now – particularly in light of my recent dabbling in the area of social media.  It seems almost everywhere I turn these days, I’m reminded of the implications of “open” – thanks to the current state of affairs on the Web, and especially with social media.  What’s interesting is the number of people who aren’t quite getting it! 

According to, public means “open to the view of all” or “open to all persons”.  That’s what the Web has done, like it or not.  

Two things kicked me into action to actually write this blog posting.  The first was a very powerful statement made by David Meerman Scott in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR:  “The web has made public relations public again…”.  The second was a recent blog posting by Seth Godin on Protecting Your Ideas in the Digital Age

So first to David Meerman Scott’s statement, which if you think of it really points out the irony of the term “public relations” – until now.  In the past, you worked through an intermediary – the media – to reach your public(s) with your message.  Now everybody can have access to everyone else.  That has huge implications for us all. It means we have to conduct ourselves differently in order to play in this “public” arena.  It also gives more “power” to individuals, who are no longer passive recipients, but active participants – and co-creators of content, messages, brands. 

Now onto the second “inspiration”…Seth Godin’s blog on protecting your ideas in the digital age, in which he actually argues the opposite – that you should not be trying to protect your ideas.  I love how he cleverly argues both for and against how you could try to do this, (mis)using trademark, copyright or patent “law”.  His view is that trying to protect your ideas goes entirely against the concept of what the Web is all about.  His ultimate point is that you should want others to adopt and spread your ideas – and not try to control and protect them – and that you should put them out there with this in mind, making it easy for others to spread them and/or build on them.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  

I always like to go back to basics, and there’s an old adage that I think applies perfectly here:  that mimicry is the greatest form of flattery.  If someone takes your idea and runs with it, isn’t this a good thing these days?  In this era of expression, isn’t that what people should want to have happen with their ideas?  If you think about it, this validates them, their thinking, and their reputation – wouldn’t anyone want that?!?!   And isn’t that what the Web is all about now anyways? 

The Web is open – “public” – and so is social media…that’s what it’s all about.  If you choose to play in this space then you need to play by the rules and accept the consequences of being in a “public” arena. 

I’ll let you read Seth’s blog for yourself, and see what your thoughts are…agree or disagree?  

I know there’s a lot more I could talk about on this topic, but I’ll leave it at this – for now anyways!