E-commerce Link: Did You Hear That?
Would you admit to having seen the movie “Gigli”? I asked that question of more than 5,000 people during my book tour for “Waiting For Your Cat To Bark?” but I can count the number of hands that went up with my fingers.
Before “Gigli” was released, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were superstars. Every magazine cover seemed to feature their Hollywood romance. They were a movie marketer’s dream. They had the winning formula. Then, the movie hit the theaters.
Within hours of the first showing, word of mouth spread via cell phone, IM and online reviews. When it opened on the West coast, word got out: “‘Gigli’ is a bore!” It flopped with the largest week-to-week drop in the history of the box office, courtesy of word of mouth. That was 2003.
Word of mouth is becoming more muscular and nimble. It’s not just another marketing buzzword; it’s a growing reality that should concern marketers enough to budget and plan for it.
Word of Mouth Is King
We see the emerging generation reviewing products in forums, blogs and by any other means technology allows. “The Internet is becoming mainstream, and customers have easier access to each other than ever before, so people look to each other when making buying decisions,” word-of-mouth guru and Bazaarvoice CMO Sam Decker wrote last year in his corporate blog.
Decker also cited a 2006 Edelman study that states consumers’ trust in “a person like me” zoomed from 20 percent in 2003 to 68 percent in 2006. “Customers just don’t believe companies anymore,” he wrote. “People are looking to each other to justify and validate their product experiences. So, the best way a company can traverse the word-of-mouth marketing universe is to be more transparent.”
Budget for Experience
The days when marketers were paid to make promises the business had no intention of keeping are coming to an end. This decade’s newly established brands are based on experience (e.g., Google, Starbucks, eBay) and not just hype. Can you say that about your products and services?