Masters of Metrics: David Meerman Scott & Fanocracy

Picture of Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer
Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer

This week on “Masters of Metrics”, our host Emma Lo Russo talks to David Meerman Scott, the author of Fanocracy, as well as other bestselling marketing books like The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Newsjacking, and Marketing and PR in Real Time. They discuss how to grow a community of real fans of your business – from the potential benefits to the practical advice derived from real life examples.

What Fanocracy is really about

Online marketing has become polarising and chaotic, according to David Meerman Scott. Superficial online communication dominates at a time when people are hungry for true human connections. But there are still places online where people are truly connecting, and it’s often around the things people are fans of.

For David, that’s surfing, and music like the Grateful Dead. For his daughter Reiko, his co-author on Fanocracy, it’s Harry Potter. Fans often make real connections with other fans, sometimes instantly due to the shared interest. 

It’s a lot like when you attend an industry event and you know you can immediately talk to someone wearing the same badge as you, knowing they’re here for what you’re here for. 

The more that businesses can develop true fans, the more successful that they’ll become, as opposed to just throwing out yet another social post and hoping that it sticks. There’s a new way to do business – a kinder and gentler way. And it pays off for growth.

David Meerman Scott at a concert
David Meerman Scott showing his fan colors at a concert ©Jay Blakesberg

Why businesses should start creating fans today – and how

David calls it a human approach to business. He outlines examples of how businesses like Hagerty Insurance, Duracell Batteries and Hubspot all made it their business to delight and care for their customers. 

In doing so, they earned fans, customers who would be loyal for life thanks to the community spirit, and the kindness, generosity and honesty shown by the business. 

As for how your business can get started building their fans today, David recommends keeping two things in mind: that spirit of kindness and generosity, and also the strength of video content

Social media algorithms show videos more frequently than text-based content, and you can provide information in an honest, casual way. When you can’t meet people in person, you can virtually meet them using video.

David Meerman Scott speaking
David Meerman Scott speaking at a live event. Today you can run a webinar or LinkedIn Live to talk to as many people – or more!

The realities of digital marketing

Here’s three pieces of advice from David Meerman Scott’s many years of marketing analysis:

  1. Take a look at your website and get a sense of this: are you talking to potential customers? Or are you talking about yourself? Are you talking about products and services, or about what’s important to your customers? How often do you use the word ‘we’ versus ‘you’? It’s difficult to build a tribe of fans if you’re only talking about yourself. 
  1. Marketing is real time. Calendar-based approaches to marketing only take you so far; you also have to be prepared to think about what’s going on right this second, like industry events, someone saying something about your company, or even world events like COVID-19, and how you can use that as a way to generate interest among your buyers. 
  1. Hubspot measures everything, and they learned that 20% of their new customers, at some point in the sales process, viewed the CEO’s bio page. This goes to show that you need to have a firm grip on measuring as much as you can, not just the first and last time a customer interacts with your online content. 
David Meerman Scott's book Fanocracy
David Meerman Scott’s book Fanocracy – pick up your copy today to learn more.

Rapid fire questions! 

  • Guilty pleasure? Books. (“Though I never feel guilty when I buy a book.”)
  • Inspirations? Grain Surfboards.
  • What age would you pick to be for the rest of your life? Right now.

Our picks for the best takeaways

On why Fanocracy really works: “People are hardwired to want to be part of a tribe of like-minded people. That’s when we feel safe and comfortable, needed, and like we belong.”

On YouTube channels: “If you don’t already have one, now’s a good time to start one.”

On whether only big business can build big fan communities: “It doesn’t really matter. Big or small, B2B or consumer, or nonprofit or even government agency. These ideas absolutely work.”

On dangers in marketing: “I see a lot of organisations falling into the trap of talking about their products and services way too much, and not enough about the needs of the people they serve, the people they’re trying to reach.” 

On gating your content: “Too many organisations put a gate in front of too much content. I’m a big believer in making it free. Don’t require people to register. It’s like going into a bar, meeting someone, and saying ‘I can’t talk to you unless you’re giving me your business card first’.”

Referenced in this podcast

David Meerman Scott with a surfboard
David Meerman Scott with his surfboard
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