Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ad 2.0 or Advertising 101?

My Take...

David Polinchock of Brand Experience Lab asks a Soflow forum "Are we spending too much time trying to come up with cool ways for people to talk about a mediocre product rather then developing cool products that people actually want to talk about?"

My take - if by "we" you mean ad agencies, then the answer is 'yes'. And I think that traditional media outlets from Yellow Pages through television networks are going along for the ride.

Cool products are developed through the genius of entrepreneurs. Then buzz happens. Great products and services create their own buzz organically and unstoppably. As long as the supply exists, buzz will keep selling it.

The best ad campaigns can only achieve short-term results when they create buzz around 'un-buzz-worthy' products. A different approach is needed that recognizes the potential for Web 2.0 - one that utilizes and depends on the continual input of satisfied customers.

This revolutionary approach would ignore traditional advertising. It would harness and encourage the organic excitement consumers feel when they experience something truly satisfying. This happens everywhere every day. "My back feels great - you gotta call my chiropractor!.. You have got to stay at this inn!.. You have got to call my landscaper!.. Oh - you are getting a new car? You gotta call my dealer¿"

This approach would exploit the forces that spawned each of marketing's recent evolutionary steps - multi-level, big-box, affiliate, viral, participatory - and marry them to word-of-mouth seamlessly and naturally. This is the potential of Web 2.0. If advertisers' aims fall short they'll end up with AOL instead of Google.

Wednesday August 30, 2006 - 02:30pm (EDT)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Word-of-Mouth Marketing Alliance

"The three questions most clients have when considering a WOM program are:
How do I identify my influencers and customer evangelists?
How do I activate them?
And, how do I measure the effectiveness of my WOM program?"

Read the original article (April 25, 2006)
- ComBlu; Keller Fay Group :: The Keller Fay Group and ComBlu Form Word-of-Mouth Marketing Alliance

Wednesday April 26, 2006 - 07:16am (EDT)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My take...

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Vonity is onto something in the social network space.
  • It’s a social network with a professional purpose.
  • It provides financial incentive for participation.
  • It controls the communication between participants, so it can track and collect its revenues – initially.
  • It enables charitable contributions of earnings.

But -

  • It wants to be viral – but it is missing the built-in motivation for spreading the word. Why tell others about it when that might reduce your chance for earning revenue?
  • It loses control of the commerce after the initial communication.

'You want to talk with me about developing and launching a next-generation, viral, word-of-mouth referral portal? Contact me on Vonity for $1.00 per minute!

Sunday April 23, 2006 - 02:26pm (EDT)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

My Take on unimaginative B2C word-of-mouth start-ups

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Brannon also offers small businesses a unique advertising capability. For just $125, businesses get a unique ID to pass out to valued customers. Customers then log in and post comments about the service they received.

Each company receives 12 keywords for the search function, allowing customers to specialize. Also, each company Web page lists the company's site, contact information and rates the company based on customer referrals.

Original article byLaura Braverman as it appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier.

My Take - There remains an obvious gap to be closed before this concept can become the perfect viral marketing engine! Contact me if you have some programming bandwidth or vc.

- - Your Frustrated Editor

Saturday March 18, 2006 - 01:45pm (EST)

Monday, February 13, 2006

... and MORE Word of Mouth news

Press release

Word of Mouth Marketing Service Opens in Portland, Oregon: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Friday January 13, 2006 - 03:59pm (EST)

Editor's update (2/14/2009):'s site is down.

Any word on their status?

What gets customers talking?

Observations of A.J. Riedel of the Riedel Marketing Group:

"So what is it about these products that evokes passion when so many other products do not? Four characteristics evoke passion in consumers."

Read the article by Michelle Moran at Table Talk: What Consumers Love to Buy and Why

Monday February 13, 2006 - 07:21am (EST)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A generation serves notice: It's a moving target

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"The preceding generation may have thought that e-mail, newsgroups, Web forums and even online chats accelerated the word-of-mouth phenomenon. They did. But they are nothing compared with the always-live electronic dialogue among millions of teenagers and 20-somethings."

Full article by Tom Zeller, Jr. of The New York Times as it appeared on Sunday, January 22, 2006 in the International Herald Tribune.

Sunday January 22, 2006 - 01:43pm (EST)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Word of Mouth - To Tell Or Not to Tell?

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Extract -

Key conclusions drawn in the study include:

• Participation in an organized word-of-mouth marketing program does not undermine the effectiveness of word-of-mouth communication.
• Disclosure has practical business benefits. It does not interrupt the “natural” flow of conversation.

Key findings include:

• For approximately 75% of the conversational partners it did not matter that they were talking with someone affiliated with a marketing organization. Instead what mattered was that they trusted the agent was providing an honest opinion, felt the agent had their best interests at heart, and were providing relevant and valuable information.
• None of the key outcome metrics were negatively affected by the agent disclosing their affiliation. In fact, the number of people a person told after speaking with a word-of-mouth marketing agent actually increased when the conversational partner was aware they were talking with a participant in an organized word-of-mouth marketing program.

Article by Northeastern University Professor Dr. Walter Carl as published on Newswise (1/18/06).

Wednesday January 18, 2006 - 08:20pm (EST)

Friday, January 13, 2006

... and MORE Word of Mouth news

Friday January 13, 2006 - 03:59pm (EST)

Word-of-mouth marketing firm BzzAgent wins second-round funding

Word-of-mouth marketing firm BzzAgent wins second-round funding - 2006-01-13
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"Word-of-mouth marketing firm BzzAgent Inc. in Boston has received $13.75 million in a second round of venture capital funding from co-lead investors General Catalyst Partners in Cambridge and IDG Ventures Boston, the company announced Friday."

As article appears in the "Boston Business Journal" Friday, January 13th, 2006

Friday January 13, 2006 - 03:54pm (EST)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Making "Word of Mouth" work on the Internet???

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As read on the Austin Business Journal January 11, 2006

Internet marketing company collects $4M - 2006-01-11
Bazaarvoice remains in "stealth" mode, but founder and CEO Brett Hurt says the company competes in an emerging sector known as "word-of-mouth marketing." Hurt, a founder of online-analysis software provider Coremetrics Inc., says Bazaarvoice will give companies the power to tap one of the oldest forms of marketing -- telling friends and family what they like and don't like.

Wednesday January 11, 2006 - 04:13pm (EST)

Friday, January 6, 2006

My Take: What is Judy's Book Missing?

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My Take: Judy's Book has attracted more venture capital - $8 million more .

But I just don't get it.

What competitive advantage is it counting on in its battle against Yahoo! Local?

I've been a Yahoo fan and user for 10 years. My Yahoo! Yellow Pages stares at me from my tool bar. My Yahoo address book allows me to connect to my friends. Yahoo has an active portal with piles of content.

So ...

- What will drive traffic to this upstart?

- What would compel users to submit reviews (other than free coffee)?

- What will create viral interest and growth?

- How does it connect with any of the natural factors that have been spurring word-of-mouth since the dawn of commerce? Quality products or services? Great customer service? Creative advertising?

- Are they adding proprietary functionality that makes it an attractive acquisition?

- And the really big question - where are these easy VC guys when you need them?

I like your spunk, Judy. But help me to see your unique value.

Good luck.

Friday January 6, 2006 - 03:03pm (EST)

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

The Value of Local Search

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"... about 25% of all web searches are searches for local businesses close to consumers' home or workplace."

TV News in a Postmodern World, Part XXVIII
by Terry L. Heaton

Wednesday January 4, 2006 - 03:12pm (EST)

Unbundled Advertising

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"The consumer is now the one with the power, and people with goods and services to sell need to start thinking of them again as customers."

As read on
"Economy of Unbundled Advertising" by Terry Heaton

Wednesday January 4, 2006 - 03:12pm (EST)

Monday, January 2, 2006

The Long Tail: Long Tail vs. Bottom of Pyramid

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"Both theories are based on the notion that if you break the economic and physical bottlenecks of distribution you can reach a huge, previously neglected market. They both recognize that millions of small sales can, in aggregate, add up to big profits. And they're both focused on ways to lower the cost of providing goods and services so that you can offer them at lower price point while still maintaining margins."

From " Long Tail vs. Bottom of Pyramid" by

Monday January 2, 2006 - 05:44pm (EST)