I’m thrilled to be guest blogging here for the next couple of weeks. As I told Stephanie, I’ve been awfully bad about blogging lately, I’m hoping this spurs me out of the inertia. I’ll be cross-posting at Humlab and Conversations with Dina during these two weeks. Here’s one for starters …
This is an extract from an excerpt of the book Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution by Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005):
“In the US, NOP (now GfK) research shows that 92% of Americans cite word of mouth as their preferred source of product information. Advertising company Euro RSCG has found that when it comes to generating excitement about products, word of mouth is 10 times more effective than TV or print advertising.8
Why should this be? Why should word of mouth connections become even more important in influencing buying behavior in an age when media formats and channels are proliferating? The answer has five facets:
1 New personal communications technologies and digital media such as blogs, instant messaging, mobile telephones, email, online review sites, and personal Web sites are increasing the speed, reach, and utility of word of mouth. Digital media’s capabilities in turbo-charging the viral spread of information means that well-planned and well-executed connected marketing initiativesâ€”particularly those that integrate more traditional marketing communications techniques in their activitiesâ€”can help business messages reach the mass market in a way that would require a significant investment if left to more traditional techniques alone.
2 Increased marketing literacy among buyers means people increasingly dismiss traditional marketing campaigns as biased “propADganda.” Instead, they turn to trusted word of mouth sources for advice.
3 Acute advertising clutter is making it increasingly difficult for traditional marketing campaigns to break through and capture people’s attention. To avoid the advertising cacophony, buyers turn to their friends for word of mouth recommendations.
4 Accelerating media fragmentation is shrinking media audiences; more channels, more media are making it harder for advertisers to find and reach their target markets through traditional marketing campaigns.
New ad blocking technology is empowering people to skip, stop, or avoid unwanted advertising messages and interruptive marketing campaigns.
5 Today, consumers are more involved than ever before in controlling communications and message delivery at a global level. And many brands are now finally realizing that “the most powerful selling of products and ideas takes place not marketer to consumer but consumer to consumer.”9
I’ve been mulling over questions for marketers, advertisers and agencies to get them to start thinking of Social Media built around the principles of Web 2.0:
How can you make your customers your marketers? What is your strategy to adopt new forms of communication and collaboration that both enable and enhance consumer participation in your brand? How can you empower them to believe they trust you and can make a difference? How can you make them your brand ambassadors and evangelists? How is this trust and loyalty built in an open environment where you and they ‘play’ together? How can you make your market a conversation in ways traditional media has failed?
There is a third space that is evolving – the social web. It is changing how we ‘consume’ brands and promises. And its not just restricted to the desktop – it is mobile too. Jay Rosen articulates this so well – “Jay Rosen said something terribly important that (imo) went over the heads of most people in the room. He said the nature of authority is changing in our culture, and that this directly impacts all media. He used the example of a person who goes to the doctor and gets a prescription for an ailment. The doctor explains how the medication will work. The patient then proceeds to the drugstore and receives the medicine, along with (perhaps) an explanation from the pharmacist about how the medicine will work. But then the patient goes home and gets on the internet to research the thoughts of others who’ve used the medicine to discover what THEY think about how it works, and this impacts the doctor’s authority. The doctor is still the doctor, but gone is the automatic acceptance of his or her words as gospel.”
Are there other questions or issues you think that I might add?