Scott Monty serves as executive vice-president of strategy for SHIFT Communications, where he contributes to strategic elements of new business, client assignments, and agency direction.

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Previously, Scott was a strategic adviser on crisis communications, blogger relations, digital customer service, innovative product launches, and social media at Ford Motor Company.

He writes about the changing landscape of business, technology, communications, marketing, and leadership at, and serves up news on all things Sherlock Holmes on his site I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.

I invited Scott to Marketing Smarts to talk about what marketers can learn from the enduring success of the Sherlock Holmes franchise, the importance of knowing your audience, how to get the most out of your relationship with your PR agency, and much more.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Marketers should take a lesson from famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes (05:31): "[Sherlock Holmes] is an interesting study because he takes data points that he's memorized from cases long ago and from things that have happened on the other side of the world, and he's able to process that at the same time he's picking up visual cues in front of him, behavioral cues, and he weaves it together. I think that's exactly what the communicator and the marketer of the 21st century need to do."

Focus on relationships, not transactions (09:37): "Ultimately... you want to build relationships with the people that you care about. If it's for internal communications, that's your employees. If it's for supplier communications, you've got a whole cascade of...stakeholders in that area. Obviously, customers. You want to build relationships with customers. It's not transactional. It's about relationships."

Craft your content so you leave people wanting more (10:54): "[The Sherlock Holmes series] was something [people] could relate to, whether it was relating to Watson as the everyman, as the storyteller, or whether it was relating to the great ability of Conan Doyle to do plot and setting and descriptions and character development. If we can take those elements to string people along—not in a malicious way, obviously—but to get them to go from episode to episode, or from piece of content to piece of content, like you would a story, and leave them wanting more, rather than leaving them frustrated that you've just interrupted their day."

If you prefer, give people all your content at once... but it had better be compelling (11:45): "If you want to do something that's released all at once, if you think you have an audience for it, go for it, but it's got to be compelling for people to want to binge view or to binge consume your content. You can make them feel like they're part of an exclusive club. You can make them feel like they've been missing out on something because they haven't been up to speed with what their peers have been participating in. I think there's a lot of different ways to go about it but, again, what's the emotional hook that allows them to want to continue that relationship with you."

To learn more, visit or follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMonty.

Scott and I talked about much more, including how brands can get the most out of their first meeting with an agency, and the importance (and limits) of transparency in marketing communication, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by: 

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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