Written by David Meerman Scott
Interviewed by Maureen Alley, Website Magazine
Viral marketing gets all the buzz these days, but a new way of marketing is
presented with David Meerman Scott’s “World Wide Rave.” In the book, he says
marketers must let go of old, traditional methods and embrace the desires of
users to go beyond viral marketing and become a world-wide phenomenon.
We asked him a few questions to get a better idea of this concept.
WM: What do you mean by World Wide Rave?
DMS: A World Wide Rave is when masses of people around the
world can’t stop talking about you, your company, and your products.
Whether you’re located in San Francisco, Dubai, or Reykjavík, it’s when
global communities eagerly link to your stuff on the Web. It’s when online
buzz drives buyers to your virtual doorstep. And it’s when tons of
fans visit your website and your blog because they genuinely want to
WM: What is the standard of measure of success of
the World Wide Rave? How do we know we’re
DMS: There are several ways to measure how well a World Wide
Rave is spreading. For example, how many people are exposed to your
ideas? How many people download your stuff? How often do bloggers
write about you and your ideas, and what are they saying? Knowing
where you appear in search results for important phrases is also a
measure of success, as is the number of people that engage with you and
make the choice to speak to you about your offerings.
WM: How does a World Wide Rave differ
from viral marketing?
DMS: A World Wide Rave is when people are talking
about your company because they want to, not because
they were coerced or tricked by viral marketing.
Viral campaigns developed by most ad agencies involve
buying access to audiences in the same old ways,
such as purchasing an e-mail list or launching a microsite
that hosts a print- or TV-style ad. Going viral via
a World Wide Rave is more authentic — and therefore
vastly more effective.
WM: Are you taking a “if you build it, they
will come” approach?
DMS: No way. I advocate creating something specific
for your buyer personas; those people who want
to do business with you. A buyer persona represents
a distinct group of potential customers, an archetypal
person who you want to reach.
WM: How can you convince people to give away their
content for free? That is, not forcing registration or
any other methods to collect user data that can be
monetized in the future?
DMS: For your ideas to spread and rise to the status of a World Wide
Rave, you have to give up control. Make your Web content totally free
for people to access, with absolutely no virtual strings attached — no
electronic gates, no registration requirements, and no e-mail address
checking necessary. This advice will come as a shock to many marketers
steeped in the tradition of direct mail advertising. Marketers who
learned the ins and outs of buying contact lists, the secret workings of
business reply cards, and the subtle coercion tactics required when creating
offers naturally want to transfer these esoteric skills to the Web. As
a result, many folks create valuable and interesting content online and
require viewers to provide personal information first. This is a terrible
strategy to spread your ideas. When you make people give an e-mail
address to get a white paper or watch a video, you will lose the vast
majority of your potential audience.
Unlearn What You Have Learned
Perhaps the point of David Meerman Scott's “World Wide Rave” is best summarized by Yoda
from Star Wars, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
- Unlearn the use of jargon about your products and services. Instead start from the
problems and needs of your buyer personas.
- Unlearn spin. Instead, understand that people crave authenticity and transparency.
- Unlearn interrupting people with messages. Instead, publish online content they want to
- Unlearn being egotistical and trying to force people to adapt to your terms. Instead create
online content that addresses buyer problems.
- Unlearn the assumption that you must buy access. Instead, create something that
becomes a World Wide Rave and let millions of people tell your
story for you.
Read more on the top enabling factors that trigger a “Word Wide
Rave” and the tools you need to spur your audience to spread content.