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What's New With the New Rules of Marketing and PR?

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • The problems with traditional marketing and PR metrics
  • Seven ways you should be measuring modern marketing efforts

Note: The third edition of David Meerman Scott's modern business classic, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, was published this week. Longtime BusinessWeek bestsellers, previous editions have more than a quarter million copies in print in some 25 languages.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR was originally published in 2007. At the time I was writing it (in 2006), Twitter did not exist and Facebook was open only to students. So when the original edition came out, I knew right away that things were "missing." That's the nature of book publishing in a fast-moving marketplace. (Every now and then I'd get an email from someone saying something like, "Hey, there's this new service called Twitter. It's not in your book. Ever heard of it?")

The third edition has a new chapter on real-time marketing and PR (a passion of mine), and also a new chapter on mobile marketing. When the second edition came out a little less than two years ago, Foursquare and other GPS-enabled mobile sharing apps were just emerging, and I did not talk about them. Today, those apps are mainstream, so I have included a lot in the mobile chapter about how to market with those tools. The third edition also has a new section on measurement and a bunch of new examples of success from organizations around the world.

(Incidentally, Google+ came out in July, after the third edition was already at the printer. So, I already have the first revision for a fourth edition.)

One thing that doesn't change in any of the editions, however, is the concept that the Web is an essential way for every outfit to market.

The idea that you no longer have to rely exclusively on buying advertising and begging mainstream media to cover you is liberating for people. Creating great content (e.g., a YouTube video, blog post, e-book, photo, infographic) truly brands an organization as one that's worthy of doing business with.

Still, four years after the first edition, many people (especially executives) continue to resist the idea of giving content away.

Measuring the Power of Free

The problem I have with traditional marketing and PR measurement (sales leads and press clips) is that neither reflects the reality of what we can do today to reach our audience via the Web. Measuring solely based on the number of people who fill out a form is flawed. Measuring by compiling a clip book implies that all we care about is ink from mainstream media, which misses the point.

If a blogger is spreading your ideas, that's great.

If a thousand people watch your YouTube video, that's awesome.

If a hundred people email a link to your information to their networks, tweet about you, or post about you on their Facebook pages, that's amazing.

If you come up on the first page of Google results for an important phrase, break out the champagne!

You're reaching people, which was the point of seeking media attention in the first place, right?

The problem, then, is that many marketers measure only sales leads, and many PR practitioners measure only traditional media, such as magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV. Those practices don't capture the value of sharing.

There's nothing wrong with those measurements, but they aren't enough.

What You Should Measure

These days, the Web gives everyone—B2B companies, consumer brands, consultants, nonprofits, schools, and many others—a tremendous opportunity to reach people and engage them in new and different ways.

Now, we can earn attention by creating and publishing online (for free) something interesting and valuable, such as a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, a photo, a Twitter stream, an e-book, or a Facebook page.

But how should we measure the success of this new kind of marketing? We need new metrics.

Here Are Some Things You Can Measure:

  1. How many people are eager to participate in your online efforts? You can measure how many people "like" you on Facebook, subscribe to your blog, follow you on Twitter, sign up for your email newsletter, or register for a webinar.
  2. How many people are downloading your stuff? You can measure how many people are downloading your e-books, presentation slides, videos, podcasts, and other content.
  3. How often are bloggers writing about you and your ideas?
  4. What are those bloggers saying?
  5. Where are you appearing in search results for important phrases?
  6. How many people are engaging with you and choosing to speak to you about your offerings? You can measure how many people are responding to contact forms and making requests for information.
  7. How are sales looking? Is the company reaching its goals? Ultimately, the most important metric within management teams is revenue and profit.

Your challenge is to resist the entrenched factions within your organization that insist on applying old measurement rules to new marketing ideas. Ultimately, if you can prove success using new metrics of engagement, you'll thrive.

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David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur, and partner in the sonic branding studio Signature Tones. He is the author of 10 books, including The New Rules of Marketing and PR, now in its 6th edition, with 350,000+ copies sold in English and available in 29 languages.

Twitter: @dmscott

LinkedIn: David Meerman Scott

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  • by Peter Johnston Mon Sep 12, 2011 via web

    Your approach may work for the world's largest companies, David, but metrics based totally on numbers are wrong for the rest of us - it is too untargeted.

    You can have lots of noise, but it the right people who count. You can have thousands of downloads, Likes and follows. But you need the right people to be impressed, the right people to have the idea filter into their consciousness and the right people to make buying decisions.

    Opening the mouth of the funnel wider and wider, doesn't affect how much comes out the bottom end, just how much time you waste on the ones who will ultimately fall by the wayside.

  • by Sachin V Shenoy Thu Sep 15, 2011 via web

    I completely agree with all the metrics used to measure ROI that are mentioned above. A lead generated through each activity is equally important in a competitive market. But the focus should be on how do you nurture these leads and make sure you change the mindset information search or search for options to an selection and buy.. May be a company should have a lead nurturing system in place where we have a team who monitors each and every download or like and then understands the interest area of the reader and then nurture him by targeting articles or mailers that he would love to read and then slowly have him enter the bag with a more positive intent to buy.

  • by Sachin V Shenoy Thu Sep 15, 2011 via web

    Kindly ignore the typo errors on the post above. Thanks.

  • by Michael Webster Tue Oct 4, 2011 via web

    Most of the measures described in 1-7, while interesting, appear to me to be disconnected with the actual content piece you are trying measure. They seem too general.

    I think there are 3 important things to measure about content: was it interesting; was it authoritative, and did it work as a marketing piece.

    You need to have explicit measures of these concepts, in my view.
    I have a detailed example here:

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