I had the good fortune to attend David Meerman Scott‘s launch session for his latest book, WORLD WIDE RAVE back in March. It’s taken me a while to get around to reading the actual book but that’s okay. Ultimately, the book does a very good job of capturing David’s live presentation. And David’s live presentation does a very good job of capturing both the power of social media and digital marketing and communication in general.
Scott is a big believer in telling stories rather than relaying product or marketing messages (a common enough theme among “new marketers” like Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki) and these stories form the core content of the book. While similar to the traditional case study method, this does lead to a more entertaining and engaging read and it emphasizes the social media marketing principles that Scott has identified. The story, prinicpal quote, challenge format that he utilizes is a compelling way to break down anecdotes into actionable items and is reinforced by a strong, visual design for the book. At just under 200 pages, it’s an ideal primer on social media and digital marketing and I can see a lot of interactive marketers handing a copy of this book to their less digital media savvy clients.
While much of what Scott writes about has been covered elsewhere (either on blogs or in actual published form), I was struck by his support for the creation and (free) distribution of content. Scott’s belief is that marketing efforts will now have to follow the example of venture capitalists or book publishers i.e. create and distribute multiple products in the hope that a small number will actually succeed. If Scott’s proposal is correct, it could lead to a fundamental shift in the way agencies and clients approach digital (and traditional) marketing. Currently, we’re seeing a major focus on metrics in our industry and digital media proponents have emphasized the measurability of interactive advertising as one of it’s key advantages over traditional (primarily print) display advertising. If Scott’s theory is correct though, this emphasis on metrics is somewhat misguided. If only one or two out of every ten projects will succeed then measuring how well they’ve succeeded (or failed) becomes somewhat less important than figuring out why a project was able to catch lightning in a bottle (or generate a “World Wide Rave“). Focus on customer needs and high quality content would become even more important in this scenario. It’s an interesting prediction and one that certainly bears watching.
WORLD WIDE RAVE is a top notch piece of writing from one of the key voices in digital marketing today. I highly recommend it for both clients and people in the digital media industry. Nice work, David!