Chapter 1. The Old Rules of Marketing and PR Are Ineffective in an Online World

In the summer of 2006, I was thinking of buying a new car. As with tens of millions of other consumers, the Web is my primary source of information when considering a purchase, so I sat down at the computer and began poking around. Figuring they were the natural place to begin my research, I started with the big three automaker sites. That was a big mistake. At all three, I was assaulted on the home page with a barrage of TV-style broadcast advertising. And all the one-way messages focused on price. At Ford,[8] the headlines screamed, "Model Year Clearance! 0% financing! 0 for gas!" Chrysler[9] announced a similar offer: "Get employee pricing plus 0% financing!" And over at GM,[10] they were having a "72-hour sale!" I'm not planning to buy a car within 72 hours, thank you. I may not even buy one within 72 days! I'm just kicking the virtual tires. All three of these sites assume that I'm ready to buy a car right now. But I actually just wanted to learn something.

Although I didn't know exactly what I wanted, I was sort of thinking about a compact SUV. Only GM offered a way to check out all of the company's SUV models in one place. To learn about all the Ford products, I had to go to the Ford, Mercury, Land Rover, and Volvo sites separately, even though these brands are all owned by Ford. These individual sites were no better help to me, a person who was considering a new car purchase possibly many months ...

Get The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.