Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Final Countdown

Well the world of Word of Mouth and Guerilla marketing has sure been interesting to watch. There is always so much going on it’s really hard to keep up with it all, but really easy to find interesting and new things to write about. Basically from doing these blogs over the semester I’ve realized that there are so many different ways to reach people, and sometimes you just need to be creative and have a great idea in order to be noticed. Sometimes you don’t need to spend big money; you just need to think big.

I’ve noticed that games or contests are big ways to get the consumer involved, especially if it involves online content, such as the Snickers contest where they urged viewers to make their own Snickers’ song; or the Simpsons’ website where people could make their own promo for the upcoming Halloween special. These both give people a way to actively engage with a brand and form a relationship with it. Instead of thinking that a brand message is being forced down their throat, these consumers are embracing the message and are being given the opportunity to make it their own. Another example would be the Doritos contest where people were asked to make their own Superbowl commercial that actually had a shot at being aired during the big game. These are not just little contests where you have to enter a number into a website and you have the slimmest chance in the world to win 10 million dollars, these are things that people can get actively involved in and excited about. In my mind, I think this is incredibly smart. Pay less to buy media that people are consuming less of, and jump on the new bandwagon. We talked a lot in class about how more people are going online and using programs to share photos, post their movies on Youtube, or blog about their lives/work. It’s the perfect time to begin to use these emerging trends in order to connect with consumers.

Another trend in the WOM world seems to be the shock factor. When you are pulling off a WOM campaign or a guerilla idea, I think shocking people works extremely well. Take for instance Jane magazine’s quest to find a real-life 30 year old virgin a mate. Some people would think of this as vulgar, or that this woman should keep her sexual history to herself. But, “NO!” says Jane Magazine. They decided to document this woman’s life, trying to get her laid. But the thing is – it worked. Well not the getting the girl laid part…but the magazine got noticed, and their brand name got out there, thanks to their trusty ol’ abstinence poster child. WOM marketing is one of those things where sometimes even bad talk is good, because your name gets out there, so shocking the audience works. For instance, the new Tickle Me Elmo doll who was accused of gettin’ a little bit too down with his bad self was talked about VERY much in the popular media, especially on shows such as Best Week Ever and The Soup. But instead of being big worrywarts and trying to take drastic means to fix what was being said about the doll, Mattel just chilled out and waited for the doll’s release – which was met with great sales. Sometimes if you get a little bit of talk going about your product, even if it’s not 100% what you expected or wanted, it can work wonders.

Basically I’ve learned that if you make or do something cool and put it out there, people are gonna talk about it. Especially since there are so many new ways to spread information and ideas so quickly these days, it is essential that all marketers and advertisers become aware of just how valuable word-of-mouth can be. Just as we’ve talked about in class, people are using the Internet more and more to share almost everything about their lives. There are some concerns with privacy in this new digital age, but you’d never know just from taking a look online at all the various video, pictures, and blog posts people are putting up on the web.

So as it stands now I’m pretty sure that WOM and guerilla are both great tactics to be used to generate buzz about a product. I think that they will only continue to grow as more and more people buy into the whole digital theme of our age and start playing with all the user generated content online. Also, outdoor guerilla marketing will target people when they aren’t at home, which is a large chunk of their days. Since traditional media are being consumed less and less, outdoor and out-of-home are great places to reach people (and great places to implement guerilla campaigns)…. Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see where these go in the future, but all I can see is them going up, up, up.

**Note: The above picture is a man attempting to break some sort of strange world record. It is meant for your enjoyment, though it has no bearing on this post.