Note the ‘s‘ on Mouths. It’s not a mistake, it’s intentional. The more usual expression is ‘Word of Mouth Marketing‘. However that suggests a one-at-a-time process. So a small business might try to spread the word in its own locality. That’s why Anita Campbell, Editor, of Small Business Trends is telling her audience of entrepreneurs about a book that describes 57 Word of Mouth Tactics. You might see this as a process that’s been around since humans first started living in villages.
Except .. This is the year in which Time Magazine has nominated You or in other words, all of us, as Person of the Year. Ready access to the Internet means that ‘words’ can spread much more rapidly through blogs. That’s why other terms are now used to describe word-of-mouth marketing. Buzz Marketing or Viral Marketing suggest the more explosive way the word can spread.
Indeed the rate of spread is so explosive that this type of marketing can easily outperform the more traditional ways of advertising. As even the biggest companies try this new type of promotion, there are some important Do’s and Don’ts they must observe.
First an important Don’t. The Internet is very open. Falsehoods, untruths or partial truths may very easily be shown for what they are. That’s what Wal-Mart found out. Its P.R. advisers, Edelman, created not one but three blogs that purported to be authored by regular folk who just found the Wal-Mart stores were most accommodating. This has even resulted in a new word, Flogs, which are false blogs. Needless to say, the final result is worse than if the flog had never seen the light of day.
The Do’s required for this new form of publicity are very different from the old Push Marketing approach. That’s why one of the most successful traditional marketing agencies here in Montreal, Diesel Marketing, has transformed itself into the SID LEE agency. SID LEE is involved with these new marketing methods. If you want to find out what’s involved, then check out their new blog, Conversational Capital?. In particular, there is a white paper, Building Strong Brands By Leveraging Conversational Capital, which provides a good grounding in the principles involved.
The bottom line on this comes back to that Time Magazine idea that Person of the Year is You. It’s merely recognizing the same reality that was described back in 1999 by the Clue Train Manifesto. Perhaps the only surprise is that it has taken 7 years for big companies to realize that power or control has passed from them to the people.