Word of Mouth Isn't Everything in Marketing

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by: George Silverman

Some word-of-mouth marketers are acting as if word of mouth is the be-all and end-all. It is not. If it was, Apple would be the dominant computer; we’d all be using Tivos and Betamaxs, Leica cameras and many other revered products.

Also if stunt marketing were really word-of-mouth marketing and Word-of-Mouth Marketing was totally effective, we’d all be eating KFC [as if subservient chicken was marketing at all] and Jib-Jab and Moveon.org would have gotten Bush defeated. Stunt marketing is not word of mouth, and it isn’t even viral marketing. It’s just the old PR stunts. But now, we have the Internet to transmit it. Buzz is still just noise. Tongues wagging is just motion without traction. So what, if anything, is the be-all and end-all?

Content rules. You still have to have a big idea, differentiate it in a meaningful and beneficial way and have a product that is extraordinary in a way that people will talk about. Then you analyze the decision process, find the blocks and encourage people to talk about the things that are holding people back. People who don’t keep this in mind are going to get the wrong ideas about word of mouth from the upcoming WOMMA WOMBAT conference. They are going to get over-whelmed by techniques and lose the substance. I’m about to post some ideas for how to sort it all out. Stay tuned.

Original Post: http://wordofmouth.typepad.com/george_silvermans_word_of/2006/01/word_of_mouth_i.html