Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Talking works

Word of mouth? In spite of huge adspend, 53% of moviegoers still rely on personal recommendations. 57% of Palm Pilot owners bought because of personal recommendation (echoed in recent Blackberry growth). 

Palm called this their ‘humble marketing’ with a mantra to ‘under promise and over deliver’. It’s a strategy many of us would do well to adopt.

According to Malcolm Gladwell in the ubiquitous ‘Tipping Point’, the essential rules are that people can ‘hardly hear you’, are skeptical, and are very, very connected. Social networks are incredibly complex - even a network of just 100 people has 4,950 possible linkages. It is still easier to talk than send an email and an increasingly interesting interaction is people combining word of mouth with web-based communications. Drive traffic via people and advocacy.

Importantly, events create buzz, so it is vital to examine this output - what do you want people to talk about post-event and how? Emotion, loyalty and advocacy - these are three key factors to successful word-of-mouth.

Creative Concern learnt this through its climate change pledge campaign for
Manchester is my Planet. This was largely a networked and viral campaign that achieved an audience penetration level of 12% in just two months and accessed a total of 350,000 people through known networks. The campaign accessed a media audience of 4 million - but the conversion rates were much poorer through conventional media than for networks. When the employees of the University of Manchester were emailed saying ‘Hey, let’s all take a pledge and do something about climate change’, there were 200 instant pledges online; when the campaign got a spot on breakfast radio, only 20 pledges were made.

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