Someone is talking at you and you aren’t listening. You see a ridiculous amount of advertising everyday — How much? No one really knows, but I can almost guarantee you’re not paying attention to 99% of it, or else you would be spending your entire life reading billboards about man boobs.
This is a man boob billboard.
Here’s one way to try and understand all of the advertising “noise” out there. Pretend your the consumer and I’m the marketer, and I want to get your attention. We’re sitting directly across from each other in a huge stadium, and when I yell over to you you can here my message loud and clear. It’s fantastic, as long as we both pay attention we can actually have a great conversation. That’s unrealistic, what is more likely is that all of my competitors are sitting in the same section as me and they’re yelling at you as well. All of a sudden you have no idea what anyone is trying to communicate to you across the field. Then you realize that every marketer from any company anywhere is filling the entire stadium yelling at you about the product they own. All of a sudden it’s not worth paying attention to anything and the constant yelling is probably pissing you off. Now you understand traditional marketing — TV, Radio, Out-of-Home, Print and Newspaper. This media makes up a company’s Share of Voice (SOV), and this statistic plays a key role in a lot of companies marketing budgets.
A lot of executives are hung up on SOV, they want to make sure they have a voice in the marketplace that correlates with their overall share of the market (SOV/SOM — Share of Market). The thinking is that if your voice doesn’t match your market share then you need to amp up spending or your share could start to suffer. This is great except for a couple of things:
SOV only tracks traditional media spend (listed above). It forgets things like digital, experiential, and PR.
No one pays attention to traditional advertising.
I know this is nothing new to most of us, yet companies insist on wasting ridiculous amounts of money trying to yell over the rest of the crowd. It’s about time we started trying to convince our executives that the smarter investment would be to spend the time to walk across the field, shake the customers hand, and work to create a positive relationship.
WOM marketing is not only the golden ticket to building a brand but being able have people spread your message organically is what every marketer strives for. The problem with WOM marketing is that the 90% of offline conversation can’t be forced, well unless you compensate someone in some form, to advocate your product or service. At the same time, there are currently no quantitative metrics available for marketers to understand how these conversations really do impact the bottom line. This is when creative solutions kick in… break-through ideas cut through the clutter …. and ultimately inspire people to take action.
And that’s where the beauty lies in marketing! Understanding that marketing is art and not a science is the moment you realize your in for a roller coaster ride.
At the end of the day, agencies want to break through all the advertising noise and get there clients product(s)/service(s) noticed by there target consumer. Agencies work within the constraints of there client brief to present a unique way to penetrate the market. Therefore WOM marketing is more of a bi-product of great advertising. Whatever happened to that other 10% of online conversations? This is where you truly find those golden nuggets of insight for strategic direction. Online activity, primarily social media, is basically hard evidence of what people are really saying about your brand. After marketers harness this insight from online activity, watch OUT… the next thing you’ll know, your overhear a few coworkers speaking about how One Wipe Charlies; The softest, cleanest, fastest manliest way to handle your business made it ways to work…
I’m talking about the stuff that is produced from a vocal box and consumed by your ears.
I was sitting in a department meeting today and was suddenly struck by the total misunderstanding of where the power of word of mouth (WOM) actually comes from. Almost everyone in the room was deep in discussion about how to increase conversations online through platforms like Twitter and Facebook, looking for ideas to drive content and engage individuals with huge online networks. I’m all for nurturing online communities and building a brand persona there, but according to Keller Fay Group less than 10% of WOM actually happens in these forums.
The other 90% of WOM happens between two individuals or a group of people that are in the same room actually conversing (MIND=BLOWN! People talk in real life?). This type of REAL conversation is much more engaging and usually done with an individuals internal network of friends and family; people you trust more than others. The opinions of this group are much more influential on your actions than those you read online. Online “conversation” is spastic and high volume. Scroll through twitter for five minutes and I bet you won’t remember the first thing you read, have an in-person conversation and you will remember everything you spoke about. Real conversation is significantly more memorable and influential on individuals opinions.
So what does this mean? Marketers and Advertisers should be looking to create content that initiates REAL conversations. Yes, conversation on-line is good but when it translates into REAL conversation that’s when you really win. The only difficulty is that it’s almost impossible to know or track when people are actually talking.
These dogs know what I’m talking about. I love dog memes.
What do you think? How can this be done? When do we know something has broken through?