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on 16 August 2011
"Real-time" marketing calls for promotion and public relations activities that move as fast as contemporary business. Time-consuming planning and procedures must yield to rapid action and reaction. Online news business and marketing expert David Meerman Scott explains how to plan and conduct marketing and public relations activities that move as quickly as the audience they seek and the competition they have to beat. getAbstract recommends Scott as a trusty guide for leading the uninitiated through the online marketing wilderness. His book offers much for businesspeople, especially marketers, who want to develop implementation in real time. Now.
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on 19 December 2010
I got my copy of Real-Time Marketing & PR end-October 2010 and I just read it (18 December). Mmmm, not exactly a real-time book review then. I have excuses, but let's cut to the chase...

Should every marketing and PR professional read this book? Yes; even those who consider themselves or are considered to be at the leading edge of this sort of thing. And I make that assertion simply on the basis that David peppers the book with many case studies and examples that will prove useful when attempting to convince the less savvy amongst your colleagues and clients of your point of view.

The book is structured in three parts. Part one sets the scene, spanning a wide number of topics from United Breaks Guitars to Google's entry into the real-time scene, from the shapes of meme diffusion (my words not David's... he's much more disciplined at avoiding jargon), to the transformation of media relations and social Web analytics. I got particularly excited reading about the latter because David quotes me. Cool.

David calls those shapes of meme diffusion "the real-time power law" and "the real-time law of normal distribution". And, being pedantic, this is the only part of the book I felt uncomfortable with, if only because my best exam result at university was in mathematics. I couldn't happily follow David's assertion that these probability density functions map onto the topic in question - but fortunately that won't really detract from the message for the vast majority of readers.

Part one rounds off with an interesting overview of crowdsourcing.

Part two consists of three chapters covering real-time conversation with customers, the rise of the mobile device as the dominant channel, and real-time delivery of products and services. Again, it's easy to let this book wash over you, and David has this uncanny knack of getting the reader to think about the personal ramifications of case studies without feeling like you're being force fed. He's what book reviewers would call 'accessible' I guess. I'd say 'very useful'.

Part three drills down into the practicalities. How exactly do you effect change and get everyone in your organisation onboard? Despite having broached the issue in the incredibly best-selling "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" in 2007, I agree with David's reemphasis here on social media policy formulation, communication and training. In my opinion, too many organisations still neglect this must-do; or get it wrong. This really shouldn't be difficult and David leaves you feeling like you could do it yourself by ten o'clock Monday morning.

You have to wait until the penultimate chapter before confronting the first (and only) figure that looks like it belongs in a management textbook. Not a criticism, more of surprise to me that David has to lean on diagrams so rarely to get his point over. The figure relates to the technological potential for real-time business in combining CRM, Web analytics, social Web analytics, marketing automation, and media intelligence.

The last chapter seeks to embed some of the lessons of earlier chapters by covering three case studies: GM, Hubspot and Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls getting stuck in Iceland when the volcano erupted in April 2010. Honestly, it does make sense when you read it, and it makes you think. The number one take away in my own words => you get back what you put in.
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