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Jan. 7, 2020

143: Fanocracy: The Next Evolution in Marketing? [David Meerman Scott Interview]

143: Fanocracy: The Next Evolution in Marketing? [David Meerman Scott Interview]

Join me for an insightful interview with the bestselling marketing author David Meerman Scott, who's The New Rules of Marketing and PR has sold more than 400,000 copies worldwide. David joined me for an interview where he revealed the background and a preview of his new book: Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans. While the theme of "fans" has been something covered by others, David offers a unique approach backed by case studies and neuroscience which I believe you will find quite insightful. Once you hear the scientific background behind Fanocracy, you might join me in believing that it really might be the next evolution in marketing - for those forward-looking companies who empower their marketing and customer experience teams to push forward on a "fanocracy" initiative. For my listeners, even if you are not a large enterprise, the same concepts that David discusses can be leveraged by any entrepreneur, small business owner, or marketer. You can purchase your own copy of Fanocracy here.

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode of the maximize your social influence podcast every once in a while I like to do interviews with other leading people in the space. And today, I'm really honored to have no other than the author of this book. Now, this book has gone through a lot of iterations, a lot of revisions. Hopefully you've all read it, maybe in university, you've seen it, you've heard about it. I know, it's absolutely one of the best selling books, if not the best selling book in our space, The New Rules of Marketing PR, with the author that David Meerman. Scott, David, thank you so much for your time, it's really an honor to have you here.

David Meerman Scott:

Of course, now, I'm happy to be here. Thanks very much for having me on.

Neal Schaffer:

So David, just without further ado, you did in the space since when a lot of current marketers were potentially in their diapers. You see things change. And, you know, tell us, for those that don't know the story of how you how you came to first write this book in the first place.

David Meerman Scott:

Sure. So with New York, New Rules of Marketing, and PR, I got my start in a been trading desk on Wall Street. And then I worked in the financial information business, I worked for companies like Dow Jones and Reuters. So I before the web, I worked in the business of understanding real time content. And so that gave me essentially a head start in 1995, when the web came around. And pretty early on late 1990s, I recognized that everyone was getting it wrong. Everyone was talking about marketing on the web as being like advertising. You know, it was banner ads at that time. And then Google came around with their AdWords and everyone's all about advertising with Google AdWords. And I'm like, No, it's about creating content, you're wrong, you're wrong. And like, and I was like a heretic, nobody was believing me. So I started blogging in 2004, started writing about these ideas on my blog, which was getting a lot of traction back then. And then I was I wrote in oh, five, and oh, six, The New Rules of Marketing and PR came out June of 2007. And, yeah, I think it probably is the best selling book in the space, it's now in the sixth edition. It's sold 400,000 copies in English over all the editions. And it's in 29 other languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese. So yeah, it's done. It's done pretty well. And I think, though, Neil, that too many people, I know, you see this too, too many people are abusing these ideas. Now, too many people think they know how to use these new rules of marketing and PR, but they don't use them in the way that you and I talk about it. Instead, what they're doing is, for example, you buy something from a company, they they add you to the email list without permission, and then they send you three, four, or five, six emails a day, or on social network, somebody will connect with you on LinkedIn, and then all of a sudden, they'll turn around tries to sell you something, this social networks themselves are part of the problem. Because there's, in the beginning, you know, you would put out a piece of content, it would go to your network. Now, unless you pay, it doesn't go around. It doesn't get out to that many people, when you put out an update, the social networks also try to polarize people into political spaces. And based on what you've purchased, they show you other stuff that are just like that. So I think the pendulum has swung too far into the direction of superficial online communications, at a time when all of us are incredibly hungry for a true human connection. And so for the last five years, I've been researching and writing with my daughter, she's 26 years old, this new book fan, ah, cracy. And it comes out in early January, January 7. And, and the idea of fan art cracy, I think is as groundbreaking today in 2020, as The New Rules of Marketing and PR was in 2007. Wow,

Neal Schaffer:

I want to get into that. But I also, you know, I agree with what you're saying. And for me, I launched my company. I wrote my first book in September of 2009. And I launched my consultancy in January 2010. So for me, we're now entering the second decade of social media marketing. And yes, we already edited a few years ago. So yes, there are some evergreen rules. But there's also been a lot of changes. And I believe that there's a need for a new mindset. And my reaction obviously was was riding the edge of influence as as yours is right? Opposite. So yeah, based on that, then tell us you know, when I hear the name of inaccuracy, I think brand advocacy and I'm sure it's a lot more than that. So tell us what you've seen as you researched over the last five years that led to this idea.

David Meerman Scott:

Yeah, so brand ads. Cassie is it 1/10 of the book because one chapter. As I mentioned, I wrote it with my daughter, Reiko. She's 26 Now, when we started the journey, she was 21. And it came about because we were driving in the car, and and she knows I'm a huge life music fan. I've turned her into a live music fan like this crazy. You know, I've been to 780 live music shows up into 75 Grateful Dead concerts. What's this all about? She goes, Yeah, you're a massive music fan daddy and I'm a massive Harry Potter fan. She said I knew this of course, because I introduced Harry Potter to her when she was six by reading the first book to her but she's read every book multiple times seen every movie multiple times gone to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, I think twice went to the UK to go on the studio tour, where they filmed the the movies, and she wrote a 90,000 word novel, which is an alternative ending to the Harry Potter series, where Draco Malfoy is a spy for the Order of the Phoenix and posted that on a fanfiction site. And it's been downloaded 1000s of times and commented on hundreds of times. And so what we recognized is that for us, these fandoms that we participate in are incredibly important parts of our lives. And so we said, you know, there's something there. And I asked her to collaborate with me on this book that's now out, coming out fan ah, cracy turning fans into customers and customers in defense, because we wanted to investigate. Can any organization create the same kind of fandom as the Grateful Dead and Harry Potter did? And the answer is 100%. Yes, we looked at all kinds of different organizations, nonprofits, government agencies, insurance companies, b2b companies, enterprise software, companies, doctors, lawyers, dentists in every category, there are people who are developing fans. And so that's what we were. That's what we studied. We spoke with hundreds of people about what they're a fan of, we spoke with hundreds of companies about how they develop fans. And we've come up with a prescription for how that's possible.

Neal Schaffer:

So is there an intersection in some way with obviously top of mind that I hear from a lot of marketers is customer experience? And I'm assuming that there's a really, really good intersection here with with customer experience and phenoxy?

David Meerman Scott:

Yeah, there is. But I think it actually goes deeper, I think it goes. And I think if I were to boil down the ideas of this book into just a sentence, it's a true human connection. And that's the thing that is often lacking in the ways that organizations are doing business now. And let me just give an example. So some people say fans, yeah, maybe that's fine for Harry Potter or Apple or Patagonia, but I can't build fans. So let me ask you a question. Neil. Do you love auto insurance? No, no,

Neal Schaffer:

I don't. Either fans, right. I've asked

David Meerman Scott:

1000s of people that every single person says no, I interviewed McKeel Haggerty, he's the CEO of an auto insurance company called Haggerty insurance. He founded the companies entrepreneur, really interesting guy. And he said, David, everybody hates my product. Everybody hates insurance. Nobody likes to buy auto insurance. And furthermore, nobody wants to use auto insurance because it means you've crashed your car. So I couldn't market and create customers the way that everyone else does. How does everyone else do it? Either. They become the low cost provider or they spend a massive amount of money on advertising and there's no way I'm going to compete with geckos and lizards or whatever those green things are that others are advertising with. So what he told me was he specifically went out to develop fans for his business. And so Haggerty insurance specializes in classic car auto insurance. So first thing they realized is that there's already a massive fandom around classic cars. So he and his team goes to over 100 Classic Car events in North America a year. They set up a booth they provide educational seminars for people who are there they in they are they be have become part of the classic car community. They have a YouTube channel with over with approximately a million subscribers. There's 650,000 members of the Haggerty drivers club, they do a bi monthly magazine. They have valuation reports where they they have graphs of the value of classic cars over time so you can see either the car you own or car you might think about owning what the value is changed over time. And I am a fan of Haggerty. I've been a customer of theirs since 2005. I can say I'm a fan of my auto insurance company right and here's where this has led to them. They've had double digit compound growth every single year since their inception, they will grow by 200,000 customers this year, and are the largest classic car insurance company in the world. And it's all built on fans in a category everybody hates

Neal Schaffer:

that is really fascinating as I think about it, you know, I'm not a fan for a lot of brands, but as you know, I spent time in Japan. So I'm a big fan of UNIQLO. And I was wearing UNIQLO. Way before they were out here.

David Meerman Scott:

My daughter is massive. absolutely huge. Yeah. Huge.

Neal Schaffer:

So I mean, they don't have to advertise to me, I'm always in their shop by and stuff. Yes. And that's obviously how your fan fails. Exactly that right. You're a fan, right? Yeah. And that's really interesting, because I've seen a trend of people in marketing, say, hey, brands need to be more human. And I think that's obviously i don't i don't know how much that's possible. Right? Now, obviously, I'm assuming that Finn operasi also introduces maybe a formula or a system or rules that brands can follow to become part of the community that they want to.

David Meerman Scott:

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't call it rules per se, you know, New Rules of Marketing and PR you I use that word rule. What we did though, is we came up with 10 different chapters, each one is a prescription to help grow fans in some way. So we recognized that there are many ways to create this true human connection. And that's really what every chapter is about, in some way, creating a true human connection between you and what we hope will become your fans. And so let me share with you one of my favorite of these 10 prescriptions. So my daughter Reiko is a neuroscientist, she did a neuroscience degree at Columbia University, she's now in her final year of medical school, she's going to be an emergency room doctor next year. So one of the things that we wanted to do with this idea of fandom is to understand what's going on in our brain. When we become fans of something, you know, we really wanted to understand this to figure out if we could crack the code on what's happening. And so we spoke with a whole bunch of neuroscientists about how the brain works around this idea of fandom, and a lot of people never really thought about it. So we had to really dig to get getting into deep into this deeply. And here's what we learned. It turns out that we humans are hardwired to be interested in becoming part of a tribe. And that's because our ancient brain as a survival technique, has to find people who are part of our tribe, because that's where we're safe. As opposed to people who we meet who are not part of our tribe, where there's potential danger. This is hardwired in our brains. And so for this reason, if I go to a Grateful Dead concert I'm with, I'm with my tribe, I know the lingo. I can walk up to anyone in a Grateful Dead concert and have an instant bond, we can connect because we're part of the same tribe. And so one neuroscientists name is Edward T. Hall identified the different levels of proximity between people, which illustrates this idea of being part of your tribe together with other people, the furthest away is called public space, 12 feet or further away, our brains do not track people actively who are in our public space, we know they're there. But we don't begin to worry about them. But we do when they get inside of 12 feet, that's called social space. And then even closer is called personal space that's inside of four feet. That's where incredibly strong emotional connections happen inside of four feet. So 12 feet to four feet, social space, you walk into a room, you can't help the fact that your brain starts to track the people in the room because your brain wants to know, are these people part of my tribe? Are they friends? Or are they potential enemies, that's a survival technique. And so if you're with people who you trust, who you like, who your friends, your family, part of the same tribe, part of the fandom that you participate in, that's a very strong positive human connection. If you get into a crowded elevator or a crowded subway, and you're in the social or personal space of the people that you don't know, you can't help but feel nervous. It's hardwired into our brain as a survival technique, because you're trying to figure out whether you need to put your fight or flight mode in which makes by the way, that Tokyo subway system is like constantly stressful, right? Right now. So. So what this means for developing fandom is that the more you can put people into your social or personal space, the more you can develop those true human connections. And so that means if you're in a b2b company, can you create a client conference to bring people together? Can you do your sales calls in person rather than over the phone? Anyway, you can bring people in close physical proximity, but then some people have said to us, but David, you know We run a global business, we can't be in everyone's personal space, or we have a virtual business we sell online. What can we do? Well, there's another concept of neuroscience, which I find fascinating. And it's called mirror neurons. The idea of mirror neurons is, it's part of that part of your brain, which fires when you see somebody do something, or even hear somebody do something. And your brain fires exactly the same as if you were doing it yourself, which I will now demonstrate, I've got a lemon and a slice of lemon. And so if I take this a bite of the slice of lemon, it's really powerful. Oh, my gosh, it makes my eyes close my mouth puckers up, is really powerful on the end of my tongue, that tartness, the my saliva glands are doing their thing because of this and pen. So my brain is firing because of that bite of lemon. But my guess is that your brain fired a little bit to kneel. Indeed, it's weird, right. And even people who might be only listening to the audio track of us talking, you might even feel a little bit of lemon on the end of your tongue too. That's the power of mirror neurons. This is why when you're watching television, or a movie, you feel you know, the TV stars or the movie stars, you've never met them their images on a screen, but you feel you know them. And here's how this comes into play for growing fans, it comes into play, because if you can use video and photographs effectively on your website, and your social media, in your offline marketing brochures, or if you run a store, the way you do the advertising for your store that has the possibility of developing through mirror neurons a strong connection with like minded people. And so one manifestation of this eliminate all the stock photos from your advertising from your marketing and use real people use real people cropped as if they're within four feet of the camera. This is why selfies have become so popular and taken off because the humble selfie, which people dismiss as frivolous is actually a really powerful technique to reach people because of this power of mirror neurons,

Neal Schaffer:

which also explains the which one could say explains the growth of these visual social networks. And yes, Italy.

David Meerman Scott:

I think it helps to explain Instagram and Tik Tok and so on. And, you know, this is really powerful and really strong. This is just one chapter in our book. This is the chapter we titled Get closer than usual, the idea of understanding the neuroscience of what goes on in our brain when we become fans, but I want to share one person who read an early copy of the book about a month ago part of the manuscript. She's a famous novelist, and so she has an Instagram and her novels are set in Europe. So most of her Instagram feed are photographs of beautiful scenery in Europe, and sharing her Instagram is quite popular, but she said, David, I'd never taken a selfie in my life. I read that chapter in your book, and I decided to for the hell of it take a selfie. So I took a selfie, posted it on my Instagram. And instantly it became the most engaged image on my Instagram ever. And she said I can't believe that. So and but to me, it's it's it's clear after having done this, all of this research, talking neuroscience and seeing how on most people's social networks, those kinds of images, people cropped close like that video or photos are incredibly active in terms of the likes and the shares. So So that's just one of the 10 ideas that we talked about at all 10 equally interesting for how organizations can build fans,

Neal Schaffer:

what you're talking about there also ties into the popularity of some influencer content, we get talked about what what determines authenticity, and what the real science behind that right, I'm sure,

David Meerman Scott:

yeah. No, no, that I think you're absolutely right. You know, people sometimes dismiss the so called influencers, but they are developing a relationship with their audience because of this concept we just talked about. Yeah. And so you know, you might dismiss it as frivolous. But they've done a good job with that. Yeah, they're

Neal Schaffer:

they're great content creators, and they, they get that and I think it's easier for them to do the selfie than a brand or even an author feeling embarrassed. Why would I do it? But but people engage with with people's faces, right? Yeah, the people like them? Absolutely. Yeah, David, you know, we could go on, we could do a marathon session here. Now we could do like to keep these at a certain limit. I want people that have gone this far to actually go out and pre order or when this podcast that actually buy your book. So give us a little bit more information about the book before we go here as well as any anything else you want to tell people about what's in

David Meerman Scott:

there. Let me just wrap up with one thought and then I'll give you how to reach us. So when we went into this we had the thesis that any organization can build fans, but we weren't quite sure about that. And as we dug into it, there's no question at all. He found examples of all kinds of organizations that have been able to build fans. And I mentioned in surprising example with Haggerty insurance. And we found examples of doctors and lawyers and dentists, enterprise software companies, incredible list of organizations. One of my favorites, though, is how the outward manifestation of fandom comes about. People wear a ball cap with a logo on it, they wear a t shirt with a logo on it, they put a logo onto their computer, they put a logo onto the bumper of their car. And that's an outward manifestation of fandom and you see all kinds of different organizations where people are sporting the logo of the organization that they love. And I want to share a surprising example to illustrate that point. There's a a US government agency, a US government agency that has 10s of millions of fans, you can go to, you can go to you know what it is you can go to any city in the world, see people wearing this t shirt, I was in the Seychelles, an island chain off the eastern coast of Africa, just above Madagascar in the Indian Ocean a month ago, and I was walking down a rural street and somebody approached me wearing a NASA t shirt. NASA is a government agency with 10s of millions of fans. Oh my gosh, can you imagine on a US government agency with fans and they do a lot of the things right? To grow fans. So we're convinced that anybody can grow fans, and it's a great way to, you know, is a fabulous time for us to be recording this, Neil because we're going from the teens, the 20 teens to the 2020s We're going into a new decade. And I think like you, we both identify that there's something new coming. And I think it's this true human connection to the idea of fandom. And so I think it's, it's it's a cool that we're recording this right at the turn of the decade. And I am I can be found on the socials at DM Scott dmsc. Ott, I use my middle name professionally, because I'm the only David Meerman Scott in the world. So if you Google me, you will find me. And we also have a website at WWW dot FANUC cracy, calm, lots of information there. There's a cool infographic around this idea of proximity we just spoke about there's PDF documents you can download. We've got a video channel up there. So all kinds of stuff on fan accuracy calm. That's great.

Neal Schaffer:

I see now why you're why this is sort of the next the next generation of of this book. The landscape is something different than it was when you think

David Meerman Scott:

it is. Yeah, I mean, I mean, that book, The ideas are still valid. But but this is I think this is what's next. I think this is the thing that if you adopt these ideas, you create a fan base and a fan base, as long as you don't screw it up will support you for a very long time.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, excellent. I know, obviously, you go to Japan sometimes but in Japan haven't

David Meerman Scott:

been for a couple of years. My gosh, you know, and my way I just booked a ticket for my wife. She's going to be going in February. It's like I'm kind of jealous. I haven't been back in a couple years. Yeah, you

Neal Schaffer:

know, I go there quarterly, you're

David Meerman Scott:

going soon,

Neal Schaffer:

right? Yeah, we're going on Monday actually. Good for you, in b2b marketing circles there that the new sort of buzzword is community marketing. Now, it's actually comes from a book that was published here. But it's really this the same aspect of bringing people, the guy who wrote it created the first user group for Amazon Web Services in Japan, the power of that community, which basically sells, you don't sell your product they sell for you through. So there's a lot of what you talked about here that's really at the tip of a lot of people's minds there. Yeah. And so I see a lot of these sort of trends intersecting, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy, and look forward to just the amazing things that are gonna come your way with the publication of this book.

David Meerman Scott:

I appreciate that. And you know, and the other cool thing is that within about two months of each other, we both will have new books out there. So congratulations on yours, too.

Neal Schaffer:

Thank you very much. Yeah, yeah. So hey, you all know where to go. You don't need to do this by fan accuracy. And learn from the master who's I think you are the only one I've never heard any other marketing authors say they've sold over 400,000 copies. So I know it's gonna be an amazing success. I know it's gonna add a lot of value to all the listeners. And you heard it here before the book was launched. Here you go. There you go. You get a head start in the competition. So David, thank you once again, for taking your time out of the busy schedule. And wherever you are in the world, as I like to say make it a great social day and we'll be back at you hopefully next week. Bye. Bye, everybody. Thank you again, David.

David Meerman Scott:

Thanks.