My blog has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Long Tail Word Of Mouth Marketing

You may be aware of the fuss still being generated by postings on a blog called Wal-Marting Across America.

(if you're not aware see Business Week's article about it).

The problem was that the postings were being "created" by people sponsored by Wal-Mart's PR company Edelman to journey through part of the USA visiting Walmart stores.

That wouldn't have been a particular problem if the sponsored couple had revealed it right up front in their first posting and reminded people as they went along.

The postings showed Wal-Mart employees as very positive in their attitude to the company not something anyone expects across the board.

Word of Mouth Marketing Association

The huge amount of fuss generated ties into blogosphere's belief that blogs are better than that. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) actually say on their site:

"We believe that word of mouth marketers have a special relationship with consumers and must go above and beyond the normal expectations of marketing ethics and honesty."

Edelman apologised for the lack of transparency on the
 "Wal-Marting Across America" blog on his own blog.

As a member of the WOMMA whose values he subscribes to he certainly failed to live up to their aspirations.

Will WOMMA Stop This?

I think WOMMA is doing a good thing in trying to bring blogs into the core marketing mix. My major concern is that they don't seem to appreciate that we (the bloggers) don't have a special relationship with consumers.

Blogging is just like any other communication channel.

What is written or spoken about is weighed and checked against what is known by the people who read the blogs. Disagreement is flagged in comments or a new site could be quickly set-up to disagree with the blog.

So WOMMA is completely powerless to stop bloggers lying or creating positive spin.  I'm sure they're able to remove offenders from the association but it still wont stop it.

Human nature is to push the boundary. That's how we got the Internet in the first place.

Is Blogging Different At All?

The main advantage of blogging is that lies can be uncovered very, very quickly - as demonstrated with Wal-Mart.

So really blogging becomes self-regulating.

Is it different?

Yes because positive postings or negative postings can reach vast audiences extremely quickly and continue to attract readers over time.  It's really more than "Word Of Mouth" it's "Long Tail Word Of Mouth".

What's Long Tail Word Of Mouth?

Once a blog has been posted the posts usually stay there for a long time. And they are searchable.

That means that an initial buzz about something may create huge amounts of traffic. 

Then nothing...

Yet weeks, months or years later a search that reveals that same posting may create another huge buzz of traffic for the same reason or a related reason to the same audience, or a completely different one.

You can't predict who will see your post and what they may do with it.

That's why so many companies are still worried about blogging.

Yet treated properly as I posted about in The Best Company Blog Writing post there should be little to be concerned about.

If  Edelman had followed the points I gave there the "Wal-Marting Across America" blog would have been fine and seen as a PR exercise by Wal-Mart, or Edelman, to improve Wal-Mart's image.

And it would still have been read but without the attendant fuss over dishonesty and lack of transparency.

Wikipedia: , , , , , , ,
UrbanDictionary: , , , , , , ,
RottenTomatoes: , , , , , , ,
MySpace: , , , , , , ,
Google: , , , , , , ,
Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

* View Other Blogs Reactions
Like the post? Bookmark it Now Using:, Digg, Furl, reddit, Technorati or share on Facebook

Other bookmarks or things you can do with this post...