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World Wide Rave

Posted on 6.30.2009

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 be there.

WM: What is the standard of measure of success of the World Wide Rave? How do we know we’re successful?
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 consume.
  • 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.


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