An interesting post from Jennifer Rice of BrandShift exploring the consumer who is in control and the changing dynamics in our society that have created a vacum of relationships. Jenifer refers to Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community - a great book that documents the fraying of the social fabric over the past 50 years. Another invaluable book that looks at America's past generations and does an amazing job of helping marketers look around corners is Generations- The History of America's Future. There is no doubt that America is slowly shifting from a "ME" generatioin to a "WE" generation and businesses that understand that blogs, forums, and other technologies enabling the networked markets are just the tip of the iceberg.
Word-of-mouth marketing programs work because they are initiated from a
trusted source and shared through a network of friends, family and
acquaintances. It works because we ultimately believe someone we know
and consider them to be more credible than an advertiser.
study performed in 2004 by Forrester/Intelliseek found "recommendations
from others" and "consumer opinions posted to online forums"
significantly carry a higher trust factor than virtually all other
forms of advertising on TV, radio, in print and online.
While the newspapers are highly dependent on advertising income, a
look at the U.S. advertising expenditures suggests that advertisers are
not nearly as dependent on newspapers. Total advertising spending has
increased for each of the past three years and also to date in 2005.
Despite the circulation drop, advertising spending in local and
national newspapers has actually increased for each of the past two
However, the real growth for advertising spending appears to focus
on the Internet. For example, national newspaper advertising spending
increased by 5.8% in 2003 and 6.6% in 2004. Meanwhile, Internet
advertising spending saw increases of 15.7% and 21.4% for the same
"We saw there were large instances of information we didn't have and
couldn't make searchable," he said, noting that, "we realized that we
could make it possible for people to make information on information
But the Internet has been the most fundamental change during my
lifetime and for hundreds of years. Someone the other day said, "It's
the biggest thing since Gutenberg," and then someone else said, "No,
it's the biggest thing since the invention of writing." With the
technology that goes with it, the fact is that everybody now is
empowered: Anyone can buy what they want, shop where they want, talk to
anybody in the world that they want (and) state their own opinions.
Maybe it is the evolution of newspapers into internet content providers as this report out of the World Association of Newspapers meeting in Madrid seems to suggest.
"Digital revenue is serious business ...
Online business is a growth business, while newspapers are not," echoed
Helmar Hipp, regional director of Austria's Voralberger Nachrichten,
which draws 15 percent of its revenue from the Internet and related
According to the report, the top ten reasons why word of mouth marketing is gaining momentum is that:
1. The consumer is in control 2. There is a growing distrust of advertising messages 3. Empowered consumers are not just negative, they are fighting back 4. There is a marked increase in online advertising 5. Media fragmentation is causing marketers are shifting from mass advertising to targeting efforts 6. Email and other interactive platforms make it easy to employ viral programs 7. Word of mouth marketing is relatively free advertising 8. New tools can now track and measure online word of mouth 9. Online word of mouth marketing campaigns have a long shelf life 10. Remarkable offline marketing campaigns can ripple on to the web