'Fearless' Strategist Honored with Marketing Legends Award

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Best-selling author David Meerman Scott, the marketing strategist who coined the term “newsjacking,” was honored with the Naveen Jindal School of Management 2017 Marketing Legends Award during a banquet Oct. 26.

Scott, whose 10 books include the influential The New Rules of Marketing and PR, preached the message of marketing in real time and using social media to create attention and build business.

“It’s about speed. It’s about agility. It’s about realizing the time is now,” he said in a lecture before receiving the award. “The world has changed, but most corporations have not.”

David Meerman Scott receiving his Marketing Legends Award from Alex Edsel

Every year, the Jindal School honors a professional who has made a major impact on the field of marketing. Scott’s books and ideas have helped transform the industry, said Alex Edsel, director of the MS in Marketing program.

“Legends are fearless in their passion, and David has been fearless in his embrace of new rules for marketing,” Edsel said. “His contributions in social media marketing have turned a lot of conventional wisdom on its head.”

Scott, 56, began his career in Wall Street bond trading — an experience that taught him to react quickly. He became a vice president of marketing for NewsEdge Corporation, but lost his job in 2002 when the company was sold to new owners.

“Getting fired jolts you into reality and gets you out of your comfort zone,” he said. “It was the best thing that happened to me.”

He launched a popular blog and became an early advocate of social media and free internet content. In 2007, Scott struck a chord with The New Rules of Marketing and PR, which is now in its sixth edition and is available in 29 languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese.

In the lecture, Scott warned against pitfalls like using marketing jargon, gobbledygook and clichés: “Innovative companies would never use the word ‘innovative,’ ” he said. “If you see that word on your website, get rid of it.”

He had the entire auditorium laughing with his PowerPoint critique of stock photography in categories like “Creepy Doctors with Stethoscopes” and “Women Laughing Alone with Salad.”

“These people aren’t really people; they’re stock models with really great hair and even better teeth,” he said.

Mostly, Scott talked about the right methods of standing out, including being fearless and “newsjacking” a story with a video or post that redirects the attention to you. Hours after Donald Trump was elected president, Scott gained widespread attention for his tweet “The Best Marketer was Elected President.”

“Trump newsjacked Clinton all the time, generating $5 billion of free media with his tweets, which is what got him elected,” Scott said. “It’s kind of meta. … I newsjacked Donald Trump by saying Donald Trump is a really good newsjacker.”

During the awards banquet, Scott got Jindal School students and faculty to brainstorm ways to newsjack that day’s big business story: The start of pre-orders for the iPhone X.

Scott entertaining listeners at the awards banquet

“He’s pretty creative,” said graduate marketing student Meha Mandhana. “I also blog, and I’m active on social media. I think what he’s saying about staying up to date in real time is really important.”

Keith Dickinson, lecturer and program manager of the MS in Marketing program, said students should be inspired by Scott’s advice to use their smartphones to create instant marketing.

“That resonated with me: the idea that you’ve got a movie camera that you can edit, on your hip, and what are you waiting for?” Dickinson said. “Students today are equipped to raise their game and break new ground.”

In accepting the award, Scott praised the Jindal School for wisely partnering with the business community “so students can get practical information and quickly apply it to their career.”

“I’ve met some amazing students at UT Dallas, and it’s exciting to know this younger generation will be leading us forward and doing an even better job than our generation did,” he said.

T.D. Christensen

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