#HACKED: David Meerman Scott Talks About The Power of Fans
Our guest for today is David Meerman Scott, Founder of Fresh Spot Marketing, Wall Street Journal best-seller “FANOCRACY,” entrepreneur, and speaker.
David speaks at conferences and events at companies and association worldwide and to date has presented in 41 countries and on all 7 continents. His presentations combine three essential qualities: entertainment, information, and motivation.
As a speaker, his high energy presentations are a treat for the senses. David's keynotes and masterclasses are an urgent call to action. Scale and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage; what counts today is speed and agility. Real-Time is the mindset for the future – and content rules!
This blog isn’t the end of it though. To know more about David Meerman Scott, listen to the podcast found above and let me know what you think!
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Welcome back listeners. Morse Code here. Today, I am outside the bunker with a high powered microphone. You know the little satellite looking ones that you can listen from really far away I'm using this to listen to the inside of the bunker without having to squeeze pass all the security Josh has. David Meerman Scott, the Fresh Spot came off of Josh's plane today and we're patiently awaiting the interview. It's a beautiful day laying in the grass, under the sun. nice breeze, perfect weather to invade someone's right to privacy.
David, thanks so much for for joining me in the Lair. It's an exciting time for you because you got a new book coming out and I definitely want to I want what I want to do is I want to because nobody's listening to us. I really want to know the real you know, the real meat behind maybe what couldn't get into the book or kind of what prompted you to pursue this because you've had two very, very successful books that have become part of the lexicon. And and so I've got a notebook full ready to take some notes if you don't mind, cuz I really look at you. As it really is someone that's really directed me in my life. So I bought the new rules of PR marketing long time ago when it came out. And that was a part of my decision. First off, I, my back was kind of against the wall. So when I launched savings Angel like 10 years, 1011 years ago, like I had no money like so I'm relying on like guerrilla PR, guerrilla marketing, and I couldn't pay for advertising so the only thing I could do was just become A brand new journalist and just say, Listen, I'm just going to become a subject matter expert. And I know I'm not going to be able to do a lot of selling when I go on these stages, or when I go on the radio or TV, blah, blah, blah, blah. But maybe if I give enough value people will there maybe people are smart enough that they'll or you know, I'll say something to inspire them to, to kind of take that next step. But could you kind of when someone asks you to kind of sum up, what are the new rules of PR marketing? Like how do you how do you explain that? Sure, of course, and it's thanks for having me on, Josh. I really appreciate it. I'm glad no one else is listening in so we can really talk in talk talking in a way that we can really get down and dirty here. So yeah, I spent 15 years as a sales and marketing guy and the rules when I was doing that, in the 1990s, early 2000s was you had to pay for advertising. Yeah, you know, there was no choice really Because you didn't have an option you had to pay to advertise magazine, radio, TV, billboards, direct mail,
trade show booth space, whatever it is. And then the other rule was that you had to convince the media to write or broadcast about you. And another rule was that you had to have an army of salespeople or people in your shop, or whatever it is to do one on one with other people. So I realized that with the rise of the web and the rise of social media, that those are no longer true anymore. those rules are no longer the rules. So the new rules of marketing and PR as I described them, or that you can create the kind of content that will reach people you can create a blog or a YouTube channel or a podcast like we're doing right now or, or you get become active on social media. So in a sense, you can control your own destiny and I was really lucky. Because my early career was spent, in the real time news business, I worked for companies like Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters prior to the web, and that gave me an unfair advantage in terms of how content is put together and created and how real time content works. So when the web came around 1995 roughly, social media starting roughly 2005 ish, I already had a head start. So that allowed me to write this book and and I was able to see something that really nobody else saw. And that book originally came out 2007 it's now in the sixth edition. It's been published in 29 languages and it's, it's sold 400,000 copies just in English. So it's really become a remarkable a remarkable thing for me in my life, to be able to have had this crazy international bestseller.
You know what I see? With still far too many PR agencies and PR departments, PR professionals, is this idea. And I can speak on this as a syndicated newspaper columnist. I get bad pitches nearly every day. Yeah. And they have absolutely nothing to do with what I would ever write about. And it's just written in a, you know, we just launched version 3.14 X of our new product. And trust us, this is really important news. It's like, what is you know, nobody cares, right? You know what
it is, what it is, is that there is so little personalization going on right now. And I get those pitches as well every single day. And and you probably get way more than I do, but I get these pitches, and it's clear that they've just copied and pasted or worse, they have a list of 1000 people they're sending the exact same message. Exactly, and they all get deleted. I've probably in my career gotten 10,000 of those pitches. Yeah, every single one has been deleted. You know, what a What a waste of cyberspace.
And and I think worse is that it reflects negatively on who the person who's doing the outreach and the brand itself. Oh, yeah. And I feel bad. I mean, I feel bad for the brand because the brand is probably paying this professional, quote, unquote, you know, big money. And I'm like, Man, this is the best I got. So, you know, when people ask me if the old way of doing PR works so well, it works about as well as spamming spamming works. It's kind of like the Jim Carrey. So you're saying there's a chance you know? Yeah, I guess there's one out of a million but is that really the way we want to grow a company and I just, you know it do you think then that is? Is it? Is it kind of slowing down to speed up? Is it investing in relationships? Would you say that that's more in line with what your philosophy is?
So I think that there is room for traditional media relations. And I draw a very big distinction between what's public relations and what's Media Relations, because public relations is how an organization deals with the public. and public relations means that you can deal with your public in any way you like. That can include Twitter that can include face to face, there's all sorts of ways that a company can deal with the public. But traditionally, public relations has been exclusively Media Relations, because prior to 25 years ago, the only way you could reach the public was through the media. problem is that most companies believe that still to be true, and they insist on trying to go through the media. But there still is a role for the traditional skill set of a media relations person someone who knows the journalists knows how they think is able to help companies to craft the way they work with journalists. They have a crisis to be able to help them to work through the crisis if they have an important new news to get out there to do it in an intelligent way. But I think that that's a very small subset of public relations.
Yeah, and I think that so that's really the big evolution that's taken place over the past, you know, 1215 years is that media are no longer the gatekeepers to audiences. I know you've got more than just those two, two roads to get to audiences. Well, look, look at the current
president of the United States as just as we're having this conversation. All he does is get on Twitter, he's got 46 million followers and all the media follow his Twitter feed, and that, that that can be any of us. You know, if you're clever about the people that you reach, through social networks, you're essentially Number one, bypassing the media and number two, training the media to look at your feed to be able to talk about you and all of us can do that. It's not just something for President Trump. It's it's something that anybody can do. he happens to be the master at it. Now, I'm not saying that I agree with his politics. I do or don't agree with his politics, not a political discussion, but from the perspective of, of relating to his public. He's a master at going direct. And all of us can, you know, direct just the way that Trump does.
Yeah. So in terms of news jacking, I want to kind of kind of follow the timeline here as we get up to fan accuracy. So the concept behind newsjacking is, is simply and the way I kind of talked about this is, you know, if you're pitching a journalist or pitching the media, and their response is, oh, well, I mean, I guess we could do a story on that or weren't really planning on it. No, that's not the response you want. And I think that the perfect response you want is like, Oh my gosh, thank you so much, because I don't know how you read my mind. Wink, wink. But I have a deadline that I have to meet you. We have to do a story on this. Thank you so much for raising your hand and saying, I can help. Is that kind of a good intro?
Yeah, no, that's exactly right. You know, the most the traditional public relations approach is that you Media Relations approaches that you write a press release on your time. What news is nothing does is it it's an understanding of the news cycle, and every news cycle breaks in exactly the same way. The news story starts at it gains in interest, it has a peak and then it falls off. It's a bell shaped curve. And so if you have an area of expertise, and doesn't matter what it is, but you have an area of expertise We all do, we all are expert in something. And you create real time content in the form of a blog post or a tweet using a hash tag or, or a live stream video or a YouTube video, whatever it might be, or your speak from the podium. Whatever it might be, that injects your idea into that breaking news story, then you have an opportunity to have the media as they're looking for people to quote in their stories. They're so excited because they found you. I'll give you just a quick example. One of my favorite examples. Joe Payne was the CEO of a company called Eloqua. And their biggest competitor in software company, their biggest competitor was acquired a company called market to lead by Oracle and somebody tweeted Joe and said, hey, you're your biggest competitor was acquired. So he went on Google and found that there was that the news was true. It just been released like moments before and the Only the only reference to that acquisition was three sentences on the Oracle website. So now you know, as a journalist, you got to write a story with three sentences from the acquiring company. There's no other out there. So what Joe did remember, he's the CEO of the competitor. He wrote a blog post talking about what the industry is giving quotes, giving statistics talking about what it will like to be to have Oracle be a part of this niche in the software world. And then he was quoted in every single story that was written about that acquisition. Remember, he's the CEO of the competitor. Then there were he generated a million dollars worth of new business because people saw him in the stories. Then, a year later, Oracle bought his company for 650 million dollars and I calculated that the did purchase price based on the revenue he generated from that blog post was an extra $15 million. So I call this the $16 million blog post two hours work of 16. And he got $16 million. Now that's obviously an outlier. But that's the that's the idea of how this concept of newsjacking works. And I'm so excited that news jacking which I essentially invented about 10 years ago, has now become so popular that it was named as a new word in the Oxford English Dictionary. It's amazing. kind of amazed.
You actually net Were you able to buy a hardbound copy of the dictionary, it's kind of like, you know, buying a copy of the newspaper when you're on the front page. Are you able to buy a copy that I didn't print it in there?
I need to do that. I you know, yeah, I haven't because it was early 2000 I was 19 when that was announced, so by now it's in the print version. And I got to do that you're very clever of you to to even mention that because I didn't. And they mentioned my name when they when they made the announcement of the new I think there's like 10 words that year that they that they that they introduced. But anyway, news jacking works. It's fun. It makes marketing fun again, and, and it's a great way to get noticed. Yeah,
look at that. I it's kind of funny. I have to look on Amazon. Can you buy a dictionary? I know. Yeah, there it is. There's the New Oxford American dictionary. It's available hardcover. 3459 I'm gonna have to buy one
I'm glad Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that. That's a really cool idea. As my
it's you know, you have a brain that's been conditioned a certain way it's you know, I know you deal with that yourself and so yeah, so David I'm so what precipitated a fan awkward. See that?
So, you know, as we've been talking about, I'm one of the pioneers of the new ways to reach people through the web through social media. And about five years ago, I started to become a little bit and this is because we're friends and it's just you and I talking and there's no one listening.
I became a little disillusioned with what I created, you know, a little dish disillusioned with the idea that that people can spam each other you know, spam potential customers that the media you know, the media gets all of these we talked about earlier, terrible pitches that now those terrible pitches were being then turned into tweets and, and LinkedIn connection requests and that people are doubling down on social media rather than using it effectively and that people are building websites to in order to entrap people with With their Click Funnels and so on, and that and that, and that the whole idea of what I thought was a really new interesting way to reach people and it still is, by the way, and it's not going away, has so many dark elements to it. And And recently, the whole rise of artificial intelligence and bots, and so on is such that, you know, when you engage with a company, it's a whole bunch of algorithms to start deciding what what they feed you. And you can be having a conversation on a social network and not even realize that you're connected to connecting to a robot to a bot. So I I, I am firmly in the belief that the pendulum has swung too far into the direction of superficial online communication. Yeah, at a time that all of us are Hungry for a true human connection. And it's also happening in the political world. You know, we become so polarized not just our country, but all over the world. And so, so I was thinking about this over the last starting five years ago and I said to myself, I was this I was the, literally the first person to write a book on the new world of how to reach people on the web using marketing. I wrote the first book on this topic, and I need to be among the first people to begin talking about what's next. So I started having conversations with my daughter, Reiko. She's 26 years old now. So she was 21 years old at the time, finishing up a neuroscience degree at Columbia University at the time, and I said raika What is it with the crazy thing that I love to do to go to rock concerts I've been to 790 rock on I actually have a spreadsheet with all the bands I've seen I've been seen the Grateful Dead 75 times and I see yeah you know it's I'm so I dig so deep into this fandom and she said I know daddy I I'm so into Harry Potter not only have I read all of the books multiple times and seen the movies, but I just finished a 90,000 word alternative ending to the Harry Potter series where I'll for you as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix, and I put it on a fanfiction site and thousands of people have read it and hundred people, hundreds of people have commented on it. I have dug deep into Harry Potter and every year I go to Comic Con, I get dressed up with my friends. You know, what is it with us? Are we crazy? And so we began to research this idea of fandom. What makes somebody like me go to 75 Grateful Dead conscious what makes my daughter spend a year of her life writing an entire alternative ending book to the Harry Potter series to give away for free What what makes any of us dig into the things that we're passionate about? And then that turned into a book project. The title ultimately, which by the way, took us a long time to come up with with the title ultimate became fan autocracy, turning fans into customers and customers into fans. And our friend Tony Robbins wrote the foreword to the book. But we we then spent three years researching, we talked to neuroscientists, we talked to people who have built fand, huge fan bases, whether they're musicians or companies. And then we looked into the elements of how and why people become fans of something as well as how companies and people can develop fandoms. And so excited to have done it with my daughter because clearly a different generation, she's my daughter, clearly, a different gender. Being a woman. She's mixed race. She has this neuroscience background. So she comes at it from a scientific perspective. She's finishing up her medical school degree now and just about to start her residency program early next year. And so she has a very, very, very different take on fandom being a millennial mixed race woman compare who loves Harry Potter compared to me, he knows a 50 something year old white man who likes the Grateful Dead, so we collaborate in a really cool way.
So, so then, you know, with social media, which which everyone has access to, what are some best practice, like how does someone create fans as opposed to just followers? So like I could, I could come across an account like em moderately interested in what they have to say, How do Yeah, what does that lifecycle then? And is it is it come down to the type of content that we share, how do we enroll people into our into our purpose is I would assume that would be part of it as well.
There's a number of different elements we identified, but the one I find the most fascinating, that is important for both face to face, as well as online connection is. It comes from neuroscience, and it's the science of proximity. And so this is a really important one, because it's something that every single person can do. It's something that is really easy and and here's the basic neuroscience behind it. It turns out that all humans are hard wired to be conscious of the other humans around us. It's non negotiable. It is in our deep, dark brain from millennia ago. It is hardwired into us. So, a neuroscientist named Edward t Hall about 60 years ago, pioneered what he called the zones of influence or those zones of proximity. There's four of them that he identified. So Reiko and I, my daughter and I have expanded this concept in a couple of different ways. And it goes like this. So the first zone is any, anybody who's more than 20 feet away from you, those people our brains are conscious of, but we're not really too worried about anybody who gets within 20 feet roughly of us up to about four feet. That's called the social zone. So that's how I walk into a room. When you walk into a room. The people around you are in your social zone. And those people our brains begin to track again. We cannot help hardwired into our brains neuroscience, we begin to track those people. What we want to know are these people friends or foes or possible mates. That's what we're what our brain is telling us. And, and we can't help it. Then you've got the the personal zone, which is between about four feet and a foot and a half, that's cocktail party distance.
And then instead of four feet, two and
a half, right, and then anything closer than a foot and a half is called intimate space that's only used for very close personal friends or Yeah, doesn't really doesn't really account for, for working on fandom and then and then. So what we humans do is, is there is no question that the closer you get to somebody the more powerful the shared human emotions. So if you're in a situation Where there's fear related. Let's say you get into a crowded elevator, or even an elevator with just one other person. You're now in the social or personal space of people you don't know that's why you feel uncomfortable. Or if you're going to a cocktail party, you see some friends when you go over there, you have incredibly powerful emotions going on positive emotions. Because the closer you get to someone and more powerful this shared emotions, you know, that's an important concept when thinking about how you build fans, because the more you can bring people in proximity with like minded people, the more fans you're going to develop. So what does that mean? That means if you can host events and bring people together that's incredibly powerful. If you can meet customers one on one that's incredibly powerful. If you can do a tour of your customers offices are bringing them to your office. That's incredibly powerful. But it goes even deeper because I'm getting to your question which you talked to asked about social media. It goes even further because of something a more neuroscience kind of hope not taking up too much in neuroscience so called mirror,
I'm digging it
called mirror neurons. mirror neurons are the part of your brain that fire when you see somebody doing it as if you were doing it yourself. So, this interesting concept works is if I do something, my brain fires, you know, eat something, drink something, see something. But if you see me do something, your brain can fire as well. So here's an example. If I take a bite of a lemon, oh my gosh, I can feel it instantly. It makes my face scrunch up. My eyes closed. My mouth immediately begins to water. My mouth sort of puckers up a little bit. It is a lemon is an incredibly powerful thing to buy. into
even thinking about it I'm experiencing some of those feel bad
because of mirror neurons. This is why when you see someone on TV frequently you feel you know them or why you might feel sad or happy or cry at a movie because of mirror neurons firing, it says if you're experiencing it yourself. So what that means for us in developing authority, for example, or developing fans, for example, using an online tool, is that the more video you can use, and the more images you can use of people, yourself, your employees, your customers, your partners, where they're framed, such that you're in their personal space, so within a foot and a half to four feet, the better this fascinating, right, fascinating, so so this is why if you do a webinar, having yourself on camera is way more powerful than not. Camera. Oh yes, this is why people social feeds very frequently have way more engagement around photos where it's as if the photo you're looking at you're in somebody's personal social space, as opposed to as way off in
right as opposed to way off in the distance or as opposed to no people in it at all. Because again, the idea of proximity The closer you are to somebody, the more powerful the shared emotions and the idea of mirror neurons that you don't even have to be physically close to someone if they feel as though you are because of something virtual. So a little bit of geeking out I know about the neuroscience aspects of it, but we found this to be one of the most powerful ways to build fans. Now. You and I have both been to Tony Robbins event. I've actually spoken you've been
to a few more. And I think you had a different seat than I did. When I was on stage
I've spoken to I've spoken for at Tony Robbins business mastery events for five years. Amazing. But you've been to Tony Robbins events. Now one thing that Tony does, I also do, but very few speakers do. I do it every single speech I deliver. Tony Robbins does it every single event he ever hosts and that is walk into the audience. Yeah. And be focused and be physically close to in the personal space of some of the audience members. Now you remember that? He does that a lot. You know, because I yes, yes. Yeah. And he may shake someone's hand. He may talk to somebody one on one. He may put his hand on someone's shoulder. what he's doing is he's doing what I just talked about. It's close physical proximity. Which is a very powerful shared emotion between Tony and one other person or as he walks around a handful of people, but because he broadcasts himself on video for all of the audience to see, even if you're in the back row, and you see Tony, approach somebody in the front row, have a conversation with that person, him or her, maybe put their hand on his hand on their shoulder, maybe, you know, look into their eyes, you seeing that on camera, because of the power of mirror neurons, you believe that you are having the same. You're having the same conversation with Tony as that other person is incredibly powerful. And I've used that technique since I learned this technique through another neuroscientist named Nick Morgan who taught me this technique, and we quote him in the book to Nick shared this idea with me I my speeches have become way more powerful like Got more standing ovations, I get more great reviews of my speeches. Because I go into the audience for a brief period of time. And it's on camera. So everyone thinks I'm talking directly to them talk about authority. Talk about building fans. and such. It's such a simple technique that almost nobody uses because they're, they are staying in the public space of their audience by being on the stage, which is what most Yeah, ever leaving, you know,
what a great analogy to then to think about that in in how can we do that and social and it's, I think it's really shaping what we want to do. We want to do less broadcasting on social and more, you know, feeling like you know, you know, I'm holding the camera right here and we're having this, you know, intimate conversation and I'm telling you how I'm feeling and I can see how we can implement more of that. As opposed to, you know, inspirational quotes are great, but what would you know? How about I think would be more powerful is okay, here's the quote, but you know, let's like a just you and me right here. Let's let's talk about, you know how I fail at this all the time. And which brings me David to my next question. Um, in terms of building a fan base, I heard this i'd love your perspective on it is that you know, you can share your attractive character, and that's good for maybe attracting people to you. But that if it's just the attractive character, that it's kind of you do that to attract people to you but if you want engage people to engage with you, you know, share your vulnerabilities, share your imperfections, and share your humaneness on a regular basis. what's what's your take on that.
So I think all of those are elements and we In the book, we have actually 10 different points that we talked about when we just spent, you know, 15 minutes on one of them, which is the whole proximity. Another point that we talked about, which is what you alluded to, is the idea of making sure that you're always telling the truth, and that you're always being transparent and authentic. So that's another that's another element. But there's something kind of hidden in the question you asked me, which you may not have thought of which we found to be really, really important and really, really powerful. And that is being able to let go of your message, being able to let go of your ideas. And here's what I mean by that. So many organizations, especially people like us who are building authority, people like us who are thought leaders in some way, feel as though our ideas are really in Important and they are, but we need to let people take our ideas and morph them into something else that then they can feel a part of. Rather than us controlling that message, we should allow people to morfitt and transform it. So
my daughter Reiko and I, in our book fan, autocracy identified two different types of fandom. There's what we call curative fandom, and what we call transformative fandom. And it gets at this particular idea, so the curative fandom is what you taught. We talked about briefly earlier quotes, you know, you put out quotes, you're actually curating a series of quote, yeah, transformative fandom is when you actually transform those things into something else. So let me give you a couple of examples of curative versus transformative in the case of Major in the case of baseball, people who love major league baseball statistics, that's curative fandom, you know, it's like the batting averages and whatnot and so forth. However, fantasy baseball is transformative. Baseball into something else. Here's another example. There's the book, Hamilton, which is the facts about Alexander Hamilton the cure, you know where I'm going with this. The curated fandom. The transformative fandom is Hamilton the play, the race bent retelling of the Hamilton story and rap, a transformative version of the same thing. Neither is right nor Ronnie, neither is better or worse than the other. They're just different. The challenge we all have is encouraging people to do the transformative type of fandom and it turns out many companies don't they Try to lock things down. An example of that is Adobe. So Adobe makes Photoshop software my daughter loves to do create art using Photoshop and she's really into communicating with other fans of doing art with Photoshop, on blogs and through social networks. And everybody laughs at Adobe on those those networks because they try to control the way people talk about Photoshop software. They say they say to their fans, you may not say that you photoshopped something that's incorrect. You're not allowed to do that. You must say the image was manipulated by Adobe trademark our Photoshop trademark our software and they n and my daughter and her friends laugh at Adobe. It's like this is ridiculous. Here we are your fans. Here we are talking about how we use your product. And you tell us that that is not how you want us to talk about you. It's ridiculous. Yeah. So. So I. So getting at your question is, I think that a great way to build followers to build fans, to get people to engage is to give them permission to change and morph and transform your work into something new. I personally did that with newsjacking, which we talked about earlier. Many people in my position would have done something different with newsjacking and I got advice I asked a couple of hundred people advice before I launched this 99% of them told me to do the opposite of what I did. Everyone says I should everyone said I should trademark newsjacking and own it as my thing and not allow other people to use the word that Use that concept. I said, No. I made it freely available. I own the URL, but I made it freely available. Now there's other people have written books with a title newsjacking there's no blog about newsjacking there's people who use
including yours truly. There's
people who use the newsjacking hashtag all the time. Yeah, but but I'm the guy who invented it. If someone Google's it, I come up at the top of the search results. But yeah, Jose, let people transform my idea into something else. It exploded. And it's now in the Oxford English Dictionary had I not done that? And I had said, No, this is mine. There's a trademark against it. You can Yeah, it would have died a death.
Now something tells me you picked up a few things on that from Jerry Garcia.
Yes, you are.
You're very, very, very well known for, you know, in a world where You know security is sweeping the audience you know looking for anyone that might be taking a picture or video you know and again I've never attended a dead show. It helped me understand what what the Grateful Dead did that was so revolutionary.
Yeah, absolutely revolution another another one of my books, by the way is called marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead. So I dug deep into this topic. I wrote that book co wrote that book with Brian Halligan, who's the CEO of HubSpot and Bill Walton. The NBA Basketball Hall of Famer wrote the foreword to that book Bill Walton has. Bill Walton has seen the Grateful Dead 850 times if you can. And if you've ever seen bill on a doing a commentary in basketball, he can't talk for more than 10 minutes without saying the Grateful Dead. What the Grateful Dead did which was completely different than every other band is they allowed fans to bring recording gear into the concerts initially. They just let it Let it be Go rather than try to police it but then they realize that because so many people were taping shows, and they had microphones sticking in the air, they were bothering other people. So they created a taper section. And the taper section was located right behind the soundboard. So the Grateful Dead. Towards the end of their career, we're playing stadiums of big big events, or basketball arenas. So behind the soundboard there might be 100 people who were who they actually sold paper tickets to, and then they set up their recording gear. Now the band said please record the sound the music, and then you can give away the tape and the beginning was cassette tapes, of course then it became mp3 files, but you can give away the tapes. You can trade the tapes with other people you just can't sell them. Yeah, and and they were the only band that did that. In the beginning other bands then picked up on it, but what was interesting was that fans record ignites that every Grateful Dead concert is different. The setlist is different the way they played, each song was different. They did something like 3000 shows in their career, they never once repeated the same type of show. And so therefore, people wanted to listen to the different shows. And then they wanted like me wanting to go see a bunch of different shows. So I've been to something like 75 Grateful Dead shows. I mentioned a while, and 850. But they recognized if they let people record the concerts, they're going to make up the revenue in terms of ticket sales. And so that was a really clever thing for them to do. And it built in a massive, massive fan base. So that's actually a chapter in fan accuracy is we have all we called it give more than you have to write, give things away and one real simple manifestation in the world of digital marketing is is so many digital marketers put squeeze pages around? Yes, you know, they require that the only way you can get their white paper or their ebook is to give an email address. But that's actually putting up an adversarial relationship with somebody because you're demanding something of them before you give something in return. It's a very adversarial relationship. So in in fan accuracy, we highly recommend that you do what the Grateful Dead did is just give the content away. No expectation of anything in return, give that white paper away completely free. No email required completely free. What will happen is you'll get way more downloads of it. But then inside the paper, you can have another offer where maybe you do require some kind of registration, but then it's even more powerful because people have already read your stuff and then if they want, you want to read Register for something after that it's an even more powerful lead. So lots of really cool ideas around how to build fans. And some of them actually came from Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Yeah,
that's it. That's a great idea. And so, you know, another thing to you know, it was really interesting. I think that that that side of marketing, I hope it's dying off, you know, where everything is gated. And you know, I remember I had one conversation with a gentleman, and he was selling us some $300 program that teaches you how to write a book in 24 hours. So great. Let's talk about how do you do it? Because I can't tell you because then people won't want to buy it. Yeah, like, Brother, you are in the wrong room.
It's exactly right. Now, there still isn't an enormous amount of that going on. There's still millions of people who are doing that form of marketing. The I believe the majority of the b2b companies still market that way because that's a That's how I started as a b2b marketer. That's how b2b marketing has evolved. And you know, it's a historical accident that the whole white paper thing requires registration, because prior to the ability to send a white paper electronically, that you had to physically mail it, so you had to get somebody's physical mailing address in order to get a white paper, right. But then marketers said, Oh, now we're in the web, we got to do the same thing. Well, no, you don't. You can do anything you want, you can make it completely free. And so I've talked with marketers who have done some A B testing. And it turns out that when you remove the requirement for an email address, you can have as many as 50 times the number of downloads, so you have to do the calculation. The calculation becomes Okay, so if I, I maybe I got 2000 people to give me an email over the course of a year. Just be Cuz they wanted my white paper, not because they're interested in my company, but because they wanted my white paper. And they probably even gave me a fake email address anyway just to get and then, or 100,000 people exposed to your ideas. I mean, yeah, the difference is striking in terms of what's more powerful to build fans, and people who might eventually want to do business with you is to make it free. Don't try to coerce them into something using an adversarial relationship.
Think about it from a sales perspective, too, if they are the ones that are saying if they're the ones they're always in a relationship advancing the the, you know, moving the puck forward, you know, they're the ones that are saying yes, yes, yes. You know, kind of develop that pattern of yeses. And all you're doing is just, you know, giving it available and and they'll get off the elevator if they're need to get off the elevator, but you're absolutely right. When I go to a website, say it's a SaaS product. I see this a lot. If they don't, and I click on pricing, and all it is is a contact form. I assume I can't afford it.
Or you assume that you have to negotiate for it. Yeah.
It's gonna be a nightmare. Yeah, I don't want to, I don't
want to negotiate it, hate it. No, tell me how much the freaking car is and I'll figure out whether I want to buy it or not. I'm like, I don't want to like, have you talked to your manager and all that BS. I mean, some people might like that, but that's not the way I do business. So I
you know, personally, right. You know, for our agency friends that are listening, you know, try it out and see what happens if you abandon the, if you can, I mean, it's, you know, for us, you know, I think we've you know, we've we've absolutely productized a few services that were traditionally in the role of, Okay, I gotta write up this contract and all this other stuff. You know, we did our prices are right on the site. They're like, this is what it is. It's much and there's no contract, it's month to month if we don't earn you know, it's I felt like that I'll tell you, it's it's a lot easier to sell when we when we do it that way. And I hope other agencies will follow suit with that if they can. Because I think it just makes things a lot easier. People jump on the phone, they already know everything. And so at that point, just, you know, answer their final questions before they, you know, pull the trigger on it.
That's right. That's right. And, you know, there's always there's always room to experiment. And, you know, you can try other things. But what we're talking about here is how do you build fans? Fans are people who will be with you in the long run fans will be people who will support you, even if you screw up fans will be people who are tell about how great you are to their friends. And ultimately, what I love about this concept of fandom is that people are even willing to share your company's logo by wearing the T shirt or wearing the hat. Yeah, putting the sticker on it. Computer. And, you know, I interviewed we interviewed a bunch of people who have started b2b companies even where they've become so popular with their fans that their fans are eager to put a sticker on their computer or eager to wear a T shirt. I had an opportunity to spend a half day with the head of NASA top guy at NASA. Jim bridenstine. I wrote a book called marketing the moon. It's about the marketing aspects of the Apollo lunar program that was turned into a PBS mini series called chasing the moon that came out in July 2019. Three part miniseries, which I was also a producer on. And so Jim bridenstine. say, Well, this is the dude that wrote the book, marketing the moon, if we're going to go back to the moon, I should talk to him. So I ended up having a half day with him and in Washington, DC and his team in Washington, DC, which was fabulous. And I said I'm Jim, you NASA has 45 million twitter, instagram followers, people all over the world. You can't go into any city on the planet without seeing people wearing NASA t shirts. Yeah, people put NASA stickers on their computer and on their car, you have 10s of millions of fans and you're a government agency. So, you know, the idea of this idea of fandom of what I call a fan autocracy is just to me it's it's so interesting, it's so powerful. And it's something that any one of us if there were people listening besides you and I talking any one of us, yeah, and can, can do can achieve, we can develop fans of our work of our business of our company of our products of the way we do business.
Great way to wrap up the conversation, I hear the helicopter blades worrying above. So we need to we need to fly you out of here. So, so, David Meerman Scott, again, thank you so much I Congratulations, you know, again, I got it. I've had it on pre orders since the moment you announced it. And I can't wait to read the whole thing. FANOCRACY, turning fans into customers and customers and fans. Absolutely written for our time. Again, I think this is a transformative topic. And it's one that marketers better understand. Because consumers it's a different ball game for them today. They're they have different expectations. And if marketers are, you know, playing by the old rules, it's gonna you're making it tough on yourself.
Thanks, Josh. I really appreciate you having me on is really fun conversation.
So, as it turns out, I was laying in an anthill. I am allergic to ants and the bites are rapidly swelly. So if you enjoyed that, then please subscribe to this podcast ow, ow. If you want more ways to spy on Josh go to upmyinfluence.com, ow, ow, and Morse code over, ow.