Thursday, January 28, 2010

Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing in the Media

My book Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing was recently mentioned inThe Globe and Mail and in the Canadian broadcasting channel CTV's Web site . And thank you to the reader who dropped it in Bloomberg BusinessWeek's idea exchange site, Business Exchange. Funny enough, I didn't find these through Google. I used Hakia, a semantic search engine.

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Moms with Children At Home Are On Facebook

Moms are actively using social media and spreading buzz about their activities, likes, preferences, coupons. We knew that. But sometimes we get lost in the tactics and think that any approach du jour will work when it comes to reaching moms online. There are many segments to this group: those with children at home, new moms, expecting moms, those with toddler, those with teenagers. And they all behave differently, as they have varying needs for information and communication.

Here are some interesting findings from a study conducted for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association by BIGresearch that bring some clarity to our perspective about marketing to moms through social media: Women with children at home are more likely than average adults to use Facebook (60 vs. 50 percent), MySpace (42 vs. 34 percent), and Twitter (17 vs. 15 percent) than average adults. Additionally, 15.3% maintain their own blog.

Among these channels, Facebook is clearly the heavy weight one. Next steps will be in finding ideas that will cut through the clutter on Facebook and communications that will offer enough value to these busy moms that they will revert their attention from personal conversations to marketing messages. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This just in: Global Social Networking Audience Spikes 27%

You know you've been spending hours on Facebook. But it's not just you, the whole world has been doing it! According to Nielsen, unique global audience to social networking sites increased by 27%, from 242 million in December 2008 to 307.4 million in December 2009. On average, people are spending five hours, 35 minutes and five seconds on these sites. I guess our definition of face-to-face talking will soon change. Ping you later!

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Boomer Households Expand, While Young Adult Homes Fold

"Hold that wedding!" or "No kiddo yet!" say the young adults hard hit by the economic times. According to a recent Pew Study, 10 percent of 18-34 year olds have moved back in with Mom and Dad. An additional 12 percent have acquired a roommate. So, it comes as little surprise when the study uncovers that 15 percent of adults under the age of 35 have postponed wedding plans and an additional 14 percent have delayed having a baby. 

The boomerang trend (i.e., adult kids returning home) is likely to fade in the next couple of years, assuming the economy will improve. Yet speaking for today, it affects consumer spending on CPG products and the real estate industry. I had heard that the size of weddings had decreased over the past couple of years, but this finding suggests we might also see slight demographic shifts in the size and composition of the 'American family.'

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Online Hispanic Population: Young, Tech-Savvy and Ready to Spread The Word

The Hispanic Cyberstudy, conducted for AOL by Cheskin Research, has eye-opening findings on how to best communicate with the Web’s most rapidly growing population segment. As demography experts point to the rise of an increasingly diverse US household population, it behooves marketers to understand the nuances in Hispanics’ online behaviors and attitudes towards new technologies.

The online Hispanic population is mostly US-born and English speaking (41 percent). An additional one third (31 percent) are bicultural, speaking both English and Spanish at home. The study indicates that the online Hispanic is much younger than the typical Internet user (37 vs. 46 years old) and they are more enthusiastic about the benefits of the Internet:

o 72 percent of online Hispanics visit product rating sites
o 64 percent consider the Web the best place to keep up with current events
o 57 percent always go to the Web to find deals
o 28 percent turn to the Web for friends’ opinions

As these numbers suggest, the Internet influences Hispanic consumers’ purchasing habits a great deal. While many consumers shop for information online, Hispanic consumers are more likely than the general Internet population to learn about where to buy a product, compare prices and make a final purchasing decision.

How to best approach Hispanic consumers online? Word of mouth marketing tactics that let users read reviews and converse about experiences would be the first step. But here’s the twist: When it comes to tech-based communications, acculturation levels may not matter in the way traditional marketers may think. In fact, Hispanic customers are universally open to new technologies regardless of their acculturation level. In fact, those who are Spanish-speaking (41 percent) or bi-cultural (40 percent) are more likely than US-born, English speaking Hispanics (31 percent) to indicate that they are considered tech experts in their social circles. All the more reason to make sure Spanish versions of Web sites are culturally relevant and are en par with their English counterparts and are not mere translations.

Who is most likely to spread your news among the Hispanic online audience? The power user is male in his mid-thirties who’s married with young children. He often goes online through his phone and other devices. He e-mails (79 percent), remains active on social networks (68 percent), pings friends and family on IM (64 percent) and keeps a blog (59 percent). Sounds like a no brainer for the likes of Best Buy, RIM, iPhone and automotive companies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Social Media @ Work

According to Nielsen (September, 2009), US employees spent the equivalent of 23,267 years on Facebook while at work. Considering the National Bureau of Labor Statistics' average hourly earning rates, this equals $4 billion in productivity. Employees are not just sending colleagues and friends short messages. They are also watching videos. The Nielsen study points to an increase in the number of workers who visit YouTube and Hulu at work. In fact, 42 percent of all video viewed online is at work.

While this may not seem like great news for those who need to track timesheets, the trend has positive implications for marketers. Brands have an expanded period of time to reach consumers online. They can also count on colleague circles to reverberate messages and spread word of mouth. Meanwhile, they need to keep their communications byte sized and videos under two minutes because employees are inevitably multi-tasking or taking short breaks between projects.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti, Follow AIDG

The Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group is a non-profit based in Boston that helps communities in Haiti (and Guatemala) get affordable and environmentally sound access to electricity, sanitation and clean water. They maximize the limits of social media when it comes to telling their story and reaching out to their audiences. I wrote about their blog in my book as an example of an organization that shares its knowledge and helps its followers spread its message.

The minute I heard about the earthquake in Haiti, I went on Twitter to see if the staff was reporting anything from the ground, if they were safe. As I suspected, their deputy director Cat Laine had news to share. She was tweeting about the telecom providers that seemed to work, the buildings that were not safe, the charities that were sending aid. I am not sure if Cat's in Haiti, Guatemala or in Boston -- but she has her ear to the ground and she's giving me information I cannot find elsewhere.

The next day, I turned to their blog. Sure enough, AIDG's Founder and Executive Director Peter Haas had posted about how his organization was working on helping people in Haiti. Below is his call to action and suggestion to support medical teams in Haiti. Please consider supporting them and follow their news.

"We are currently developing opportunities for AIDG to aid in reconstruction with the help of partners. We will make another announcement on this shortly.

As you all know we are a small organization. We require some basic additional budget resources immediately to help run an assessment that will determine this longer term response aimed at infrastructure and reconstruction. If possible mail checks to:

P.O. Box 104
Weston, MA 02493

We will actually receive these funds faster than online donations. We will be running a larger campaign in concert with our reconstruction announcement.

For those wishing to have an immediate direct impact on populations in Port Au Prince we are recommending supporting the medical response teams of Partners In Health. They are working with a field hospital set up by the UNDP that immediately needs pain meds, bandages and other medical supplies.

We ask you all to hold Haiti in your hearts and prayers as this tragedy unfolds.


Peter Haas
Executive Director, AIDG"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Enough Talk: Let's Talk About Implementing Word of Mouth

Five years ago, I attended the first word of mouth marketing conference organized by WOMMA. I still remember the energy that gathering had - people from a variety of professional backgrounds were presenting how they were tapping into the power of peer-to-peer conversations. There were advertisers, political consultants, brand consultants, widget makers, professors, researchers... Each presentation was more interesting than the other.

I was really disappointed by one speaker though. He got up on stage and said that we had all been doing word of mouth for a long time and that all things lead to word of mouth. All communications generated conversations. At the time, I didn't find this so novel. I really wanted to see a case study and hear about counter-intuitive facts. Today, I cannot agree more. If we're in the business of communication, marketing, planning, storytelling, advocacy--simply put, selling--then we're in the business of word of mouth marketing.

I've been working in the Internet sector for over a decade. I have always been interested in the way ideas spread online and trickle offline. Today, we're no longer debating the importance of emerging platforms such as blogs and social networks. While we continue to debate their impact on business and our daily lives, we sense that these tools are the first versions of communication platforms that will make news spread even faster and further.

That's why I wrote Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing: Online Strategies to Identify Influencers, Craft Stories and Draw Customers. It just hit the shelves. The book is a comprehensive guide to understand, engage and sustain relationships with online audiences. My goal was to go beyond explaining the importance of word of mouth marketing in the Internet space. I wanted to give my readers a step-by-step plan they could customize to fire off their business, using Web-based tools.

I use several images across the book:

I start with a computer to explain how the Web fits into the overall mix of communication channels.

I continue with the eye and the ear to indicate that we first need to watch and listen to identify and better understand networking agents--those cybercitizens who create content, speak up and drive buzz.

Then I open my mouth, to show best practices in communicating with networking agents.

I pick up the megaphone as I offer campaign design ideas and measurement plans to launch online word of mouth marketing programs.

As the global Internet population approaches the 2 billion people mark over the course of the next few years, I believe we should pay closer attention to conversations that percolate online.

(images created by Greg Kessler)