Tell 7 people, reach 1,500,000

david_meerman_scott.jpgThe old rules of marketing are dying. Gone are the days when you can buy billboards in Times Square, ads in the New York Times and WSJ, drop zillions of bulk mail and garner the attention of the marketplace in a compelling way. And you certainly aren’t going to grab their attention using old world marketing gobbledygook conjured up in a windowless conference room. Something like, “Our solution-driven, cutting-edge, robust yet user-friendly, platform-agnostic, turnkey application provides next-generation scalability to propel your mission-critical business initiatives.” Huh?

David Meerman Scott and colleagues did a study in 2007 of over 50,000 articles published in over 4100 widely distributed industry journals, trade magazines and newspapers and published their findings which show pretty clearly the marketplace reacts to promotional content which speaks their language, not the hyped language of old-world marketing.

Cindy Gordon, VP of New Media Partnerships at Universal Orlando, did something entirely different when asked to build a marketing campaign around a new theme park at Disney. She had to build a credible and compelling market release for their new Harry Potter exhibit. She told 7 people. But not just any 7 people – she told the 7 people who publish the most highly trafficked Harry Potter blogs and fan sites. They were invited to a closed, privileged advance screening of the exhibit and were free to report as they pleased, without corporate marketing editorial. Give the power to the people, build credibility and boom!

David wouldn’t suggest there is no place in today’s landscape for press releases and traditional market campaigns entirely, but there are some good guidelines to make these efforts effective.