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Marketing and Public Relations Then and Now

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

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New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  Public Relations  |  Marketing

then_and_now_2The brand new 5th Edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR released last week in the USA. It is shipping now from Amazon and other online sellers and is available on Kindle, Google play, iTunes, and other ebook formats now. Physical bookstores in the USA should have stock now and over the next weeks the book should make its way to other markets around the world.

The new release gave me a reason to revisit some of the “old rules”. But I went further to think about some of the ways that marketing and PR has changed in the decade since I started writing the first edition.

A big hat tip to the very clever Bob Lefsetz for the format of this post.  I read every one of Bob’s posts the moment it is released and so should you.


THEN Advertising and PR were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement criteria.

NOW The lines between marketing and public relations are blurring.


THEN Get a beer during the ads.

NOW Ad blocking software and DVRs.


THEN Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding).

NOW Marketing is about creating content to educate and inform.


THEN Creating (print and video) content was expensive and time consuming.

NOW If you’ve got a smart phone, then you have a television and radio recording studio, camera, text editor, and real-time sharing tool in your pocket.


THEN Radio.

NOW YouTube.


THEN Landline and voicemail.

NOW Smartphone and text.


THEN Advertising needed to appeal to the masses.

NOW Marketing is about reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the web.


THEN Listen to the music on the radio and pay for LPs and CDs.

NOW Download the music for free and pay for concert tickets and merchandise.


THEN "Your business is important to us."

NOW Your business is important to us.


THEN Advertising relied on interrupting people to get them to pay attention to a message.

NOW You are what you publish.


THEN Fax and dot matrix printer.

NOW Smartphone.


THEN Advertising was based on campaigns that had a limited life.

NOW Marketing is about delivering content at the precise moment your audience needs it.


THEN Creativity was deemed the most important component of advertising.

NOW Understanding buyers is the most important component of marketing.


THEN It was more important for your agency to win awards.

NOW It’s about your organization winning business.


THEN The only way to get ink and airtime was through the media.

NOW Reach your buyers directly with content you create.


THEN Companies communicated to journalists via press releases.

NOW Newsjacking.


THEN Jargon was okay because journalists all understood it and they were the media gatekeepers.

NOW People want authenticity, not spin.


THEN The only way buyers would learn about your press release’s content was if the media wrote a story about it.

NOW The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.


THEN It was very difficult for buyers to find independent information about the products and services that interested them.

NOW Buyers now have nearly unlimited information and therefore buyers have the upper hand in negotiations.


THEN There was no easy way for unhappy customers to voice disapproval of a company.

NOW Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, YouTube, etc.


THEN Wait on hold.

NOW Real-Time.


THEN The seller was in charge of the sales cycle, parsing out details to buyers on the seller’s timetable.

NOW When a buyer is ready to buy, the company must respond with lightning speed.


THEN Sellers delivered only proprietary information such as their company’s white papers and research reports.

NOW When buyers have valuable information at the click of a mouse, it is sellers who need to ask the right questions.


THEN The sales process was generic.

NOW Companies must treat people as individuals.


THEN Marketing and PR were jobs.

NOW We have the best opportunity ever! This stuff is fun!


Thanks for reading this far. If you have other THEN & NOW thoughts, please post as a comment.


Images: Shutterstock

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