Book Review: Real-Time Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott


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There’s a lot to love about “REAL-TIME MARKETING & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers and Create Products that Grow Your Business,” the new book by David Meerman Scott.

There are stories about organizations who did it right, and acted swiftly when their brand’s reputation was at stake. And stories about companies who ignored the moment, missed the boat either by not making a statement, offering an apology, or listening to customers who asked to be heard. Scott retells the story about Dave Carroll and how United Airlines broke his guitar, a story I’ve heard a number of times but never get tired of hearing. There’s the fascinating details about the viral “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube videos, and how United Airlines went missing when they should have made an appearance.

In my opinion, Scott’s telling of the story is a particularly good one. Perhaps what’s greatest is the references to Jim Laffoley, the President of Carlton Cases, who saw an opportunity real-time, and offered to provide Dave Carroll and his band cases for the band’s upcoming tour. Laffoley didn’t stop there, he came up with a new product, Carroll’s Traveler’s Edition Guitar Case, and an aggressive price point. Now, there’s a company with a real-time mind-set!

So, what exactly is the real-time mind-set which Scott writes about so passionately throughout the book? Scott defines it this way: “It is an attitude to business (and to life) that emphasizes moving quickly when the time is right.” Scott suggests that focus and collaboration are essential. He writes, “An immensely powerful competitive advantage flows to organizations with people who understand the power of real-time information.”

He acknowledges that developing a real-time mind-set requires sustained effort and offers thirteen principles of real-time business:

  1. Act before the window of opportunity vanishes
  2. Revise plans as the market changes
  3. Measure results today
  4. Execute based on what’s happening now
  5. Implement strategies and tactics based on breaking news
  6. Empower your people to act
  7. Move when the time is right
  8. Encourage people to make wise decisions quickly, alone if necessary.
  9. Make swift inquiries, but be prepared to act.
  10. Quickly evaluate the alternatives and choose a course of action
  11. Get it done and push it out, because it will never be perfect
  12. Respond to customers on their time frames
  13. Engage with media at the moment they need your input

Scott further suggests that in order to adopt a real-time business model that organizations will need the support of real-time technology elements. He reminds us that it’s not just about using tools such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, but rather it’s about adapting to a new mind-set where real-time communication should come naturally.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when Scott makes a case that the Web “has actually brought communication back full circle to where we were a century ago.” He compares the Web to a huge town square with blogs, forums, and social networking sites, and how Twitter and Facebook serve as pubs, private clubs, and community gathering places.

David Meerman Scott concludes, “In a real sense, we’re going back to the way things were before the mass-media culture made us stop communicating in an authentic way.”

Perhaps my reading of “Real-Time Marketing & PR” was preaching to the choir. But if I had any shadow of a doubt, I’d certainly be convinced after reading Scott’s book that organizations must adopt a real-time mind-set with data-driven marketing and sales. Now.

**DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION Special thanks to John Wiley & Sons, Inc. for providing a review copy of Real-Time Marketing & PR for this article.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Debbie Hemley
Social Media Consultant/Blogger
Debbie is a blogger and non-fiction writer. Her posts can be found on the blog: All the News that's Fit to Blog, Tweet & Post


  1. Thanks so much Debbie for the review of my book. I got my start in the working world on a bond trading desk. If you’re even a second late, you lose. I’m convinced the same things are true for all businesses today and really enjoy sharing examples of success like the companies who drafted off of Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars. David.


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