Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Class 13 Agenda: Understanding Online WOM and Blogs

13; Understanding Online WOM and Blogs (Wednesday)

Learning Objective(s):
· To understand three different approaches to how companies are using blogs and three different levels of involvement.
· To articulate objectives that can be accomplished through blogging.

Readings for This Class:
· Chapters 1-3 & Chapters 10 &11. Robert Scoble & Shel Israel. 2006. Pages 1-45, 149-180. (NC)
· Suggested Reading: Using Online Conversations to Study Word-of-Mouth Communication. David Godes & Dina Mayzlin. Marketing Science. 2004. Pages 1-17. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: Utilizing the WOMMA Framework to Build a Syndicated Buzz Tracking Product. Jonathan Carson. 2005. Pages 71-76. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: What Motivates People to Review a Product Online. Chrysanthos Dellarocas & Ritu Narayan. 2002. Pages 77-86. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews. Judith Chevalier & Dina Mayzlin. 2005. Pages 1-30. (Bb)

· Advantages and disadvantages of blogging
· Three ways companies are working with blogs and bloggers

· Debrief Marketing Communications presentation (15 minutes)
· PPT Presentation: Blog Marketing: From Interruption to Engagement, From Control to Collaboration
· Meet with each group for 5 minutes to discuss their plans. (20 minutes)
· Return group projects from evaluating organized WOMM programs

To Do (for next class):
· The One Number You Need to Grow. Frederick Reicheld. Harvard Business Review. 2003. Pages 1-10. (Bb).
· London School of Economics. Advocacy Drives Growth. Brand Strategy. 2005. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: Firm-Created Word-of-Mouth Communication: A Field-Based Quasi-Experiment. David Godes & Dina Mayzlin. 2004. HBS Marketing Research Papers No. 04-03. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: A 10 Point Road Map to Planning and Measuring the ROI of WOM. Lauent Flor├Ęs. 2005. Pages 113-122. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: The ROI of WOM. Jeff Eisenberg. 2005. Pages 93-99. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: Wharton School Publishing BzzCampaign. BzzAgent. 2005. Pages 1-4. (Bb)


Where NEU stands...

After the discussion we had yesterday in class with Brian Kenny, I have thought a lot regarding the subject of Northeastern. Coming from the greater Boston area, I have a hard time thinking that Northeastern is academically as rigorous as BC or BU. However, if the admissions department says otherwise, than I should probably begin to believe it. Growing up around here, BC always ruled the sports world while BU was the urban, enormous university. When will it be Northeastern's turn to shine?

First, I think it stems from the fact that NEU is relatively new in comparison to the other schools around here. I mean NEU was a commuter school not all that long ago. If you think about the progress our school has made in the past 10 years, it's actually quite remarkable.

I found these statistics on the NEU website

High GPA:
-— 25% earned a GPA above 4.0
- 50% earned a GPA between 3.40-4.00
-— 25% earned a GPA below 3.40
I found those stats to be quite impressive. No longer does NEU give the impression that it is a safety school for students that get rejected from say BU or BC.
To follow up on Brians conversation about other schools that get grouped with NEU, I found a chart on This website connects Northeastern to schools like:

Boston C
Boston U
Brown U
Cornell U
New York U

On the Princeton Review website, they give insight collegeboard lacks. For instance, they include student opinions about the school. This one talks about the student body
"Undergraduates report that "the vast majority of the school is comprised of people very concerned with their appearance and club life." At a school this size though, those outside the "vast majority" constitute a sizeable population, so "you can hang out with a bunch of different people from different groups, and you all get along well." There are students from all socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds contentedly "all mixed together." Atypical students "have many resources and clubs available that cater to their ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc."
I wonder where Northeastern will be 10 years from now.

WOM, Buzz, & Viral Marketing Communication

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

George Washington

Ever since the beginning of class we have been learning something that we probably have already known for most of our adult lives…that word of mouth spreads very quickly. However, I came across something recently that really shows that. I do not know how many of you are familiar with, but it really proves the point. On this website, you can type in a dollars serial number and bill series and see where else it has been (as long as someone else typed it in too). Sometimes you are the first to enter it, while other times it has been all around the country. For example, one dollar traveled almost 2,000 miles in two years, starting in Virginia and ending up in Ohio. Another traveled over 5,000 miles in 1 year, starting in California and ending up in South Carolina! I think that this really shows the how quickly something can travel in a short amount of time, and how many people that you talk to are turning around and talking to someone else, then having that person take what you “said” (in this case we’re talking about dollars) and give it to yet another person.

Also, I would like to remind people of a movie that came out in 2005 called “Cry Wolf.” If you do not already know, the movie is about a group of teens that spread rumors online about a killer, making up his victims and what he did to them. However the killer began to copy what they were doing online, which made for a mediocre horror movie. This is perhaps a bizarre example, but it also shows how something can spread quickly. Today in class we were warned about what we should put on our facebook and MySpace pages. We really need to be careful with things like that because although we may mean pages like these to be viewed by our friends and fellow students, we never really know what kind of “predators” are looking at them also.


Class 12 Agenda: Designing Organized WOM Programs: Overview

12; Designing Organized WOM Programs: Overview (Tuesday)

Learning Objective(s):
· To identify key decision-making factors when deciding which WOM company to partner with
· To understand how WOM fits within a broader marketing communication strategy

Readings for This Class:
· Part Three of The Anatomy of Buzz. Emanuel Rosen. 2000. Pages 133-261. (AOB)

· Guest lecture
· Group meetings with client

· Guest Lecture: Brian Kenny, Vice President of Marketing Communications at Northeastern University
· Collect homework assignment of three ideas each consulting team has for the WOM program and three pieces of information needed from the client
· Group Meetings with Client: Groups will meet with their client contact person for 15 minutes to discuss the cases and pose questions to the client.

To Do (for next class):
· Chapters 1-3 & Chapters 10 &11. Robert Scoble & Shel Israel. 2006. Pages 1-45, 149-180. (NC)
· Suggested Reading: Using Online Conversations to Study Word-of-Mouth Communication. David Godes & Dina Mayzlin. Marketing Science. 2004. Pages 1-17. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: Utilizing the WOMMA Framework to Build a Syndicated Buzz Tracking Product. Jonathan Carson. 2005. Pages 71-76. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: What Motivates People to Review a Product Online. Chrysanthos Dellarocas & Ritu Narayan. 2002. Pages 77-86. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews. Judith Chevalier & Dina Mayzlin. 2005. Pages 1-30. (Bb)


Monday, May 29, 2006

Reflection on M80

M80 turned out to be a really cool company that we had to research for our buzz marketing project. It was definately cool to see how the real world companies apply to our marketing class as you can understand the topics on a whole new level. Something I definately found interesting when doing my research was when I looked at the company I saw a corporation who practiced amplified marketing. This was because of them really seeking their influencers and then pressing them to promote the word of mouth for them. As well as all of the activity that they were able to track down between members and how often they viewd the site, and even what they did when they went to it. This is using creationist word of mouth. Yet as stated in our presentation in class, the company said they considered themselves to be more of an organic word of mouth company. They say this in their website and there is a particular page on grassroots marketing they touch upon at M80. You can be the judge.

I am not sure why the company gives off this impression. Perhaps creationist word of mouth has gotten a little bit of a bad rep. This could be because evolutionist word of mouth makes people think the company is reaching out to them in good faith and that they are more interested in them as loyal customers as opposed to the good of the company alone. It is all in a matter of opinion which tactic is more effective however, as we could see in our classroom debate on May 22nd. There are advantages and disadvantages to both tactics. You could argue that M80 actually practices both of these word of mouth strategies because their original goal was to sell the DVD's through intense word of mouth. That was a goal which was accomplished mainly by short term tactics such as the Stewie My Space page, which was created to start a lot of buzz quickly. However, what ended up happening was a long term outcome which was that the show came back on the air. Just as the classroom debate concluded, you can really use both tactics, as well as you should for a successful word of mouth marketing campaign to really get far with your consumers.

What would Times Square be without Ads on every corner?

--> Since the beginning of class we have been talking about how traditional ads aren't reaching the general public anymore. We discussed that since we are already constantly bombarded with ads( whether it be on TV,online, on billboards) we have learned to tune them out.
However this weekend I was in NYC and from the moment I stepped on the street, street marketers were surrounding me, begging me to buy something. Much of the day was like this street marketers trying to get my attention, and me constantly ignoring them. But, upon entering Times Square I realized something. What would Times Square be without giant, flashing ads on every building. Part of the allure of Times Square is seeing the flashy ads trying to market a new product/service, promote celebs, etc.
As much as I don't like advertisments, I would hate to one day enter Times Square and notice that they had all been taken down and turned off because it is perceived by many that this traditional marketing is constantly being ignored by people and wasting money for the companies who pay for them. I'll be the first to admit that I can't remember half the ads that flashed before my eyes, but it was so exciting to be in the heart of Times Square surrounded by them.
In any event, I wouldn't mind seeing TV and radio ads go, but as far as the ads in Times Square are concerned, I feel as though its what makes Times Square, well Times Square.

WOM Marketing Jobs!

As a class we have had a lot of exposure to the world of WOM marketing. Through evaluating different organization's WOM marketing programs and having the opportunity to listen to some terrific guest speakers from the field, we've been able to get a good idea of some of the career paths out there for us. From my personal experience researching Brains on Fire, I felt that the company seemed like an awesome place to work! So, in thinking about something to post on our blog, I thought it would be very interesting to take a closer look at some actual job listings and resources to use in searching for careers in WOM, buzz, and viral marketing.

After searching the internet for quite some time with no luck, I finally came back to a source that had been right in front of my face the whole time, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. I know all of us have become very familiar with WOMMA from the great teachings of our very own Dr. Carl (who is also a WOMMA Advisory Board Member), but if you have not yet visited their website, I highly recommend it. The WOMMA website is very easy to use and they have great information about all the new happenings in WOM marketing, as well as a Job Board that specializes in posting jobs available in the WOM marketing industry. Although the list is not very extensive right now, I thought it was very helpful in providing a nice overview of some possible job opportunities that we may embark on in the future. The jobs range from Marketing Manager for Promotions and Buzz Marketing, to Viral Marketing Guru. Furthermore, they provide links to apply online.

There are lots of resources out there for career searching, but I thought WOMMA was a great place to get started. Who knows, maybe some of us will bump into each other a couple years down the road at a WOMMA convention. Then Dr. Carl can take us out to lunch again. I'm just kidding, by that time we will have prestigious jobs so we can take you out to lunch Dr. Carl. As we continue our studies, do any of you know of any other good resources for careers in WOM marketing?


Saturday, May 27, 2006

BzzAgent Reflection

The recent WOM marketing project our class completed allowed my group to learn alot from BzzAgent and their WOM campaign for Radica Game's 20Q. For those who read this that are not familiar with either company, BzzAgent is a media company (as they label themselves) that create and run WOM campaigns where they use a sample of their 160,000 volunteers to try out a product and report back about the number of WOM conversations they have, how many people they talk to, and the content of these conversations. Radica Games specializes in creating hand-held games and the 20Q is a particular game that asks the player 20 questions to try to guess an object the player thinks about. It is almost impossible to stump and is based off of the website (i encourage all to go and try it...its a good time).

Our group talked to Matt McGlinn, Director of Research at Bzz, and he provided us with insights we found extremely valuable for this project. It was interesting to see how they approach a campaign compared to "traditional" marketing campaigns and even more that they consider their company under the genre of media. They do not label themselves as a WOM marketing company because they see WOM as another form of media like TV, the Internet, magazines, etc.

One of the main things we learned from this project were the methods and metrics that Bzz used to measure the success of a campaign. Even over the two year span since the Radica campaign ran, Bzz has greatly increased the ways they can measure the success of a campaign. Still, most of these measures of success still do not hold much value since there are no standards set. In 2004, Bzz was able to compare campaigns based on the number of conversations that occurred, how many people were reached, and how many volunteers out of the entire sample that were participating in the campaign actually submitted BzzReports detailing their WOM activities. As it turns out, the Radica Games out performed all other Bzz campaigns at the time. Now, Bzz can compare the cost of a campaign to the number of conversations that occurred to see how much each conversation cost. This is an interesting statistic, though its value is very little because Bzz has not been able to find a standard in which to base these results yet.

A large portion of our paper was dedicated to providing our own insight to what we think the company should have done differently with the campaign. This was a little difficult for us because we viewed the program as a success, as did Bzz and Radica. Our main recommendations were to apply the metrics and methods of measurement available presently to the campaign two years ago. We all felt that Bzz did a great job of running a successful campaign with all the resources they had available to them at the time and it is hard to make recommendations about a campaign when its main limitation was the time in which it ran. We did feel that the results could have been more valid if the campaign did not run during the toy industry's main season, the holidays. We had asked how much of the game's sales can be attributed to the campaign and this was difficult to answer because of the holiday season and the PR campaign that was running as well.

The main lesson we learned was that WOM is extremely powerful and though is gaining momentum as a form of marketing, is still a largely untapped resource. We have been told over and over in this course that WOM has a large pull on the marketplace, but the 600% sales increase that Radica Games saw during the campaign really can prove this point. -->

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Brains on Fire Reflection

--> As we all know, our class recently finished our first major WOM marketing project. My group analyzed Brains on Fire's Rage Against the Haze anti-teen smoking campaign. I think everyone in the group took away different things from the campaign that they considered to be the most important. We all learned a lot about creating effective and successful WOM and viral marketing campaigns.

In our group papers, we had to identify what our company had learned from the campaign. Then we had to apply what they learned to our own group's hypothetical future design of a word of mouth project. Well I would like to share what I learned from, and consider to be the most important aspect of, Brains of Fire's RAGE program.

Brains on Fire approached the project with a specific vision. The vision was to have the teens of South Carolina to spread the word against smoking to the other teens. Because as we all know, if an adult says it's uncool, it's cool. If a peer says it's uncool, then it becomes uncool. Brains on Fire identified and recruited RAGE candidates to assist the movement. By doing this, Brains on Fire identified and engaged their movement Influencers. Now here comes what I consider to be the ingenious part of the plan. Brains on Fire took their teen influencers and created a program that would teach them to become even better influencers. They taught the teens (through a top secret program) how to effectively utilize the WOM tools provided. They taught the teens how to generate buzz and increase RAGE awareness. By doing this, Brains on Fire created the necessary RAGE influencers and program environment. They took the tools they had to create a more sustainable movement. They did not just locate influencers, they made more effective ones. This is what ultimately led to the success of the movement. Their teens were pros at recruiting new members and spreading the RAGE word. Brains on Fire didn't just take what they could get, they designed a program to make what they needed.

This lesson is what I learned from Brains on Fire. Think outside the box. There are tools staring you in the face, you just have to cultivate the idea. Of course the situation changes, and the application can not always be to just train your influencers (because as we learned in class, this is not always considered ethical). However, find an aspect of the program that you can manipulate to increase your WOM program's success.

Reflections on Brad Fay's Visit To Class (Keller Fay Group)

On Tuesday we were fortunate to have Brad Fay from the Keller Fay Group come in to talk with us about the notion of the "influentials." In his former position at GfK NOP World Brad had done a lot of interesting work on the "Influential Americans" and the difference between social influencers versus category-specific influencers. We were also able to hear Brad talk about the new company that he co-founded with Ed Keller, the Keller Fay Group and their TalkTrack methodology.

Students got a taste of what the world of market research is all about and it served as a nice contrast to the campaign design work from our earlier guest speaker, Steve Curran from Pod Design.

Here are the four key points I took away from Brad's talk:

- Brad gave us a helpful way to identify influencers, regardless of whether they are "social" influencers, "category" influencers, or "brand" influencers. The common characteristics are: 1) a degree of social connectivity (for example, how many close friends a person has, if they are "joiners," how many e-mails you get from different people, etc.); 2) being a source of advice for other people; 3) being an information-gatherer; and potentially you can add in have specific knowledge or experience in a particular category. This will really helpful as the students think about identifying influencers in their own organized WOMM program design (we also connected it to Emanuel Rosen's handy mnemonic to identify network hubs: ACTIVE; see Anatomy of Buzz for details).

- We asked him about the 10% statistic for the "Influential Americans" and whether or not that 10% applied to influencers in a particular category. He gave the best answer I've heard of this by explaining that you have to understand influencers on a continuum. The 10% line represents a certain amount of influence, but you could also cut the line at 5% or 25%. If it's 5% then you're looking at people who might have much more influence in their social networks while if you use 25% then the level of influence might not be as strong. A company might want to define influence more broadly or narrowly depending on their goals and thus you might draw the line at different places (some company's business models might want to focus on the top 1-2%!).

- A student asked him what their major should be if they want to get into his line of market research work. He had a great response. He said it was less about the major and more about your level of curiosity. He said that market research can be a little "geeky" and that the people who can stay in it over the long term and thrive need to be the type of people who get excited about what makes people tick and what's going on in the world around them. He went on to say if you're the type of person who, when you're doing a research project, just can't wait to get the "tabs" (tabulations) back and maybe even make friendly bets about what the findings might be, then you're the type of person who is a good fit for market research. He then asked the students how many people that might be. In a class of 18 students about 3 raised their hand. He then said, "Yep, that's about right!" :-)

- Finally, I loved Brad's point about reporting results back to a client. He said that in a written proposal or a presentation to the client you want to tell a story. Clients come to market research firms with problems to be solved and Brad said that your report has to frame any report in the context of a story that presents an answer to the clients' problem.

Brad's undergraduate major was Political Science and he did his master's degree at the University of Connecticut, studying with Bud Roper, son of Elmo Roper.

Thanks for joining us Brad!


Reflections on Steve Curran's Visit To Class (Pod Design)

Last week Steve Curran from Pod Design came into speak with our class on viral marketing and branded entertainment. Steve and I had met last year as part of a panel on WOM for the Promotion Marketing Association. I knew that Pod had done a lot of interesting work for companies to engage, entertain, and stimulate pass-along among consumers so I was looking forward to his talk. In fact one of his company's recent projects (Peerflix Paparazzi game) won the top spot in the 2006 Marketing Sherpa Viral Marketing Hall of Fame. We also read Steve's chapter in the Connected Marketing book.

Students really enjoyed his talk as he used a lot of great examples and case studies. They were also impressed with the company's list of clients (Warner Brothers, Atlantic Records, Tweeter, etc.). Here are a few points I took away from his visit:

- Steve sees his company in the business of creating "conversation pieces." These could be online games, branded sites, or other online user "experiences" that lead people to conversations about the brand.

- When designing a campaign he said you have to find the "hot buttons" in culture and then "press them." They did this with a line of natural beauty treatment products for the "Making Over Mona" campaign. The cultural hot button here at the time was all the discussions about botox, collagen, and chemical peels. The point of the campaign was that you wouldn't want to use these on a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa so why do it to your own face? This campaign generated a lot of buzz for the Dr. Comenge line.

- "Porn is just one click away." Steve's point was that in the online world there are many things competing for people's attention and any viral marketing campaign that is conducted must engage and entertain people. If it doesn't then people will move on to more "interesting" things.

- And the most interesting point for me was his discussion about an ROI metric: number of minutes of customer engagement (I must be the geek in the crowd if I get excited about a ROI metric). With all the interest about engagement in the advertising industry one metric that Steve's company can show their clients is how long people are engaged with the advergame or branded site. This length of time is often significantly longer than people would stay engaged with more traditional advertising and marketing approaches.

Steve's majors in college were Visual Communications and Graphic Design with a minor in Advertising. (Students love to know this information so I ask it of every guest speaker if they don't get to ask the speaker first!).

Thanks for joining us Steve!


Class 11 Agenda: Practitioner Perspective: A Client’s View On Selecting WOM Marketing Companies

11; Practitioner Perspective: A Client’s View On Selecting WOM Marketing Companies (Thursday)

Learning Objective(s):
· To identify key phases of consulting engagement

Readings for This Class:
· A Note to New Consultants. Bruce Henderson. 1970s. Pages 1-3. (Bb)
· How to manage connected marketing. Martin Oetting. 2006. Pages 232-266. (Bb)

· Basic Consulting Framework
· Review Designing Organized WOMM Assignment
· Form project groups around case study from NU Marketing Communication

· Presentation of cases from NU Marketing Communications Group
Brian Kenny – VP of Marketing & Communications
Ann Comer – Associate Director, Marketing Programs (Athletics; also with Bianca Glitworth who will come in on Tuesday)
Alyssa Meritt – Associate Director of Interactive Marketing (Alumni)

To Do (for next class):
· No Class – Memorial Day
· For Tuesday, reflection essay due with peer evaluation sheets. [Changed to be due on Wednesday].
· For Tuesday, come prepared with three ideas for the organized WOMM program and also three questions or pieces of information need from the client.
· Print two copies of this sheet with your name on it.
· For Tuesday, read Rosen Part 3. Part Three of The Anatomy of Buzz. Emanuel Rosen. 2000. Pages 133-261. (AOB) [Focus on pp. 249-261]


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why Don't More Companies Take Advantage of WOMM Campaigns?

I know we've heard it a thousand times already; WOM is the oldest form of advertizing, but only recently has it become so important. We've all seen the statistics about how WOM is the most popular way people hear about products and services, and just how cluttered "natural" advertizing has become. After seeing all the presentations today, and seeing how each and everyone was successful, it makes me wonder why don't more companies do it?

And it's not like WOM is only for one or two industries. Yeah, it would be hard to create a campaign on scotch tape (or something as mundane as that), but with a bit of creativity almost anything can happen. It was cool to see the presentations today, and how much each product or service differed from the other ones. No matter how different they were though, each one was a success. Matchstick campaigned for wine, M80 for a TV show, Church of the Customer for a Discovery Network, BzzAgent for a hand held game, and Brains on Fire for anti-smoking. The diversity in products in just those alone proves WOM can be successfull in any field. When we were doing our interview with Joe Muran from M80, he brought up this exact point. Yeah he's kind of biased about word of mouth because that's how he makes a living, but he honestly believes all it takes is some creativity for any campaign to work. One thing he mentioned was spreading WOM for a soap product (this was all hypothetical). What's so interesting about soap to take about? Well really nothing. But all you need to do is think a bit and what would get people talking. He mentioned spreading viral movie clips online of a girl and a guy in the shower, and not being overly pornographic, but sexy enough to garner someone's attention. Next thing you know people are talking and wondering what the point of the clip is, and eventually they'll learn it's a campaign for soap. (And now that I think of it, seems exactly the same thing Carl's Jr. did with having Paris Hilton practically naked, and while all your attention is on her, they place one of their burgers in her hand).

But back to my original point. Companies need to start taking advantage of the WOM phenomena before it gets as mainstream as TV ads. Maybe it's just the fact that some companies don't even think about using WOM campaigns, or even know they exist at all. With so many successes and case studies that could be presented, it really makes me wonder why more companies don't use them. I find it hard to believe that companies havn't seen the numbers, and havn't realized that WOM is where most consumers get their information or recommendations. At least marketing and advertizing firms should take interest. We see these companies like Matchstick and BzzAgent having so much success, so why shouldn't an ad agency open their own WOM department? Who knows, maybe there are a bunch of answers for these questions I'm bringing up. I guess it's easy for me to say all this since I'm studying the topic now, when three weeks ago I didn't even know what WOM stood for. But still, I'm not in the business to makes things sell, and spread word on certain products. I know if I was, a WOM campaign would be one of the first things I look into. -->

Class 10 Agenda: Key Company Players in the WOMM Space and the Concepts & Principles That Inform Their Organized WOMM Programs

10; Key Company Players in the WOMM Space and the Concepts & Principles That Inform Their Organized WOMM Programs (Wednesday)

Learning Objective(s):

· To explain an organized WOM program in light of the WOMMA Terminology Framework
· To articulate how an organized WOMM program leverages WOM principles
· To apply lessons learned from evaluating a company’s organized WOMM program to designing one’s own WOMM program

Readings for This Class:

· No Readings


· Student presentations


· Presentation order:
1. Brains on Fire Rage Against the Haze
2. BzzAgentRadica Games’ 20Q
3. Church of the Customer Discovery Network
4. MatchstickWine Council of Ontario’s VQA
5. M80Family Guy

· Describe the company in terms of its mission, their clients, and the services they provide (300-500 words)
· Describe the type of WOMM program in terms of the techniques used (see; 100-200 words)
· Describe the characteristics of the WOMM program in terms of the WOMMA Terminology Framework (specifically, Participants, Venues, WOMUnits, Actions, and Outcomes; 500-700 words).
· Identify and discuss the goals of the program (100-200 words).
· Identify and discuss the specific methods and/or metrics used to measure the success of the program (300-500 words).
· Identify and discuss the WOM principles leveraged in the program to make it successful (300-500 words).
· Identify any lessons the company learned from the program and how it could apply to your group designing its own organized WOMM program (at least 2 points; 500-700 words)
· Does your group consider this program to be a success? If so, why? If not, why not? (150 - 250 words)
· From your group’s perspective what would your group have done differently with the program design or evaluation? (Identify at least two points; 300-500 words).

To Do (for next class):

· Readings:
o A Note to New Consultants. Bruce Henderson. 1970s. Pages 1-3. (Bb)
o How to manage connected marketing. Martin Oetting. 2006. Pages 232-266. (Bb)


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Class 9 Agenda: Influentials: Fact, Fiction, Or Cultural Narrative?

09; Influentials: Fact, Fiction, Or Cultural Narrative? (Tuesday)

Learning Objective(s):

• To distinguish among social influentials, category influentials, and brand influentials.
• How to apply market research insights on influential to strategic WOM marketing programs

Readings for This Class:

• The Influentials: Introduction. Ed Keller & Jon Berry. Pages 1-25. (Bb)
• People Who Influence People: Criticism and Modifications. Gabriel Weimann. 1994. Pages 239-254. (Bb)
• Suggested Reading: The Influentials: Developing an Influential Strategy. Ed Keller & Jon Berry. Pages 279-340. (Bb)
• Suggested Reading: People Who Influence People: Opinion Leaders in Marketing. Gabriel Weimann. 1994. Pages 109-138. (Bb)
• Suggested Reading: Grapevine: Chapter 5: The Myth of the Influentials. Dave Balter & John Butman. Pages 91-111. (Bb)

• Guest Lecture

• Guest Lecture: Brad Fay, The Keller Fay Group

To Do (for next class):
• No Readings
• Prepare for Evaluating Organized WOMM Program report and presentations


Is this a Kansas Classroom? The Debate between WOM Creationists and Evolutionists

Our class took about half an hour yesterday to debate the merits of a few freshly-learned terms regarding word-of-mouth marketing--specifically, WOM creationists and WOM evolutionists. At the onset of the debate, I felt confident that my side (the evolutionsists) would earn an easy victory with what I considered to be overtly superior arguements. After all, it seems like common sense grants us the assumption that long-term WOM activity created organically and fueled by a superior product or service is the way to go. My undeserved confidence aside, however, the in-class debate proved more nuanced than I had anticipated. Despite his best efforts, our fair professor could not keep the two sides of the class from agreeing that the creationist and evolutionsist approaches seem best suited for integration; that is to say, we decided that any WOM campaign should probably display qualities of both. No one wants to repeatedly formulate short-term campaigns riddled with gimmicks to create buzz about an unexciting product or service. At the same time, long-term organic WOM is not necessarily an option for most companies (how does one generate organic WOM about a less-than-amazing product like our beloved hamburgers?). In thinking about our debate, a recent star product (the iPod) came to mind.

Even those who have made their residences in subterranean caves or underneath large boulders for the last few years know that the iPod has been an incredible success for Apple. Our debate made me realize that the iPod's amazing rise to stardom was fueled by components of both the creationist and evolutionist approaches. From the creationist perspective, the idea is to foster WOM activity by creating advertising or a WOM activity that is remarkable in and of itself. We all remember the iPod ad campaign--hailed for its genius in that it was catchy and completely devoid of any kind of socio-economic leaning (we, the students of Boston, cannot escape remembering, since it appears on almost every "T" car in the city). The ads themselves garnered Apple accolades and generated buzz. On the other hand, the product is and was revolutionary. Indeed, I'm sure we all know a few music-loving individuals who go into panic mode when their iPod is lost or malfunctioning. Its size, portability, ease of use, and incredible capacity for songs and other digital material have made it one of the hottest products in the last few decades. This invited the question: what if one of these compnents were missing from the iPod campaign? Would the product be as successful if the ads annoyed people? By the same token, would iPod be a hit if those cool silhouette ads were its best feature? The answer to both questions seems to be a resounding "no". In the end, my point here is that we can take our in-class discussion and look into the world around us to see that indeed, integrating creationsist and evolutionist ideas into a product campaign seems to be the best route to go. An outstanding product with no buzz will sit in the shelves, but a mediocre one shilled by Paris Hilton will probably do the same. My apolgies to professor Carl, (who tried to encourage some more debate) but it would seem that these two approaches are best suited for side-by-side use. Now, if only the Kansas Board of Education could get this Creatist v. Evolutionist thing down so easily. -->
Tags: marketing communicatio

Monday, May 22, 2006

FAQ: WOMUnits, Topicality, and the WOMMA Terminology Framework

As students ask questions to me via e-mail that I think will be relevant to all students I will post the questions and my responses as part of the class blog. This will be a useful way to develop a public knowledge base and resource.

Here's a question I received about the WOMMA Terminology Framework and specifically the characteristic of Topicality.

In all the FAQ posts I will make the students' identity anonymous.
Dr. Carl,

As I'm working on our group's WOMM campaign paper, discussing the campaign in terms of the WOMMA terminology framework, I'm having trouble understanding the meaning of the word topicality (as it applies to WOMUnits). Quite frankly, I'm still not convinced that topicality (much like WOMUnit) is even a real word.

Could you please provide some clarification to the meaning of this word?? The definition in the WOMMA reading is unclear and the definitions don't do much to support it.

Thanks, XXXX
And here's my response:

While WOMUnit is clearly a "clunky" term (which refers to the message in a WOM episode), topicality is pretty straightforward once it's explained properly. Basically think about it as being a message that is "on topic." Of course, "on topic" is always in the context of a "desired" message relative to some person, group, or organization. So think about if there's a campaign where the marketer wants to get a message out about the health benefits of a product. If people end up talking about the health benefits then the WOMUnits, or messages, created by the Participants are "on topic" because they are consistent with the desired message the marketer wanted to get across originally.

What has high topicality to one group might have low topicality to another. Think about the Chevy Tahoe campaign we discussed in class. If people made videos about how cool the SUV was and all that it allowed people to do, those consumer generated videos would have high topicality from Chevy's perspective. However, many of the videos were "spoof" ads and talked about how the vehicles were anti-environment and gas-guzzlers. From Chevy's perspective the WOMUnits (the consumer generated videos) had low topicality, but from the creators' perspective that WOMUnit has high topicality because it's consistent with the message that person or group wants to get across.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

Dr. Carl

Class 8 Agenda: WOM Practitioner Principles and Frameworks: Ideaviruses & Customer Evangelism

08; WOM Practitioner Principles and Frameworks:
Ideaviruses & Customer Evangelism (Monday)

Learning Objective(s):
Identify six tenets of customer evangelism
· Apply six tenets to case study analysis
· Identify principles of ideaviruses
· Differentiate two emerging industry philosophies regarding WOMM

Readings for This Class:

· The Customer Evangelism Manifesto. Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba. 2003. Pages 1-20. (Bb)
· Chapter 12: The New Mavericks of Marketing. Ben Connell & Jackie Huba. 2003. Pages 123-138. (Bb)
· Unleash Your Ideavirus. Seth Godin. 2000. Pages 1-7. (Bb)


· Six tenets of customer evangelism
· How to create an ideavirus and a purple cow
· Emerging philosophies of WOM: WOM Creationists v. WOM Evolutionists and New Traditionalists v. WOM Progressives


· Go over details of the presentation.

· Presentation should be 10 minutes with 5 minutes of Q&A from the
· Include word count on cover page of report.

· PPT Lecture: Review six tenets of customer evangelism
· Discussion: Case study (Dallas Mavericks)
· PPT Lecture: Review ideavirus principles and Purple Cow principles
· Discussion: Philosophies of WOM:

· WOM Creationists v. WOM Evolutionists
· New Traditionalists v. WOM Progressives

To Do (for next class):

· The Influentials: Introduction. Ed Keller & Jon Berry. Pages 1-25. (Bb)
· People Who Influence People: Criticism and Modifications. Gabriel Weimann. 1994. Pages 239-254. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: The Influentials: Developing an Influential Strategy. Ed Keller & Jon Berry. Pages 279-340. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: People Who Influence People: Opinion Leaders in Marketing. Gabriel Weimann. 1994. Pages 109-138. (Bb)
· Suggested Reading: Grapevine: Chapter 5: The Myth of the Influentials. Dave Balter & John Butman. Pages 91-111. (Bb)


When will enough be enough?

Today in our WOM class, the term “forehead marketing” was brought up; painting yourself as a way of advertising. This immediately reminded me of a gentleman I once saw on the Conan O’Brian Show. This man had permanent tattoos on his body of brand names and advertisements for companies that were paying him to do so. It makes me wonder, is this really the next step to advertising? We already walk around with brand names displayed on our shirts, pants, bags, sunglasses, and hats. Now, it has grown to getting these brands tattooed on our bodies.

This phenomenon instantly made me connect humans to two things: racecars and cows. Perhaps soon we will be walking around not only wearing the brands or talking about them, but literally branded with these advertisements. Will my face soon become the colors of Tide? Do the more brands we have make us a better person, as the more advertisements a racecar displays suggests they are a better driver? The second connections, cows, is a bit more bleak. A herder brands his cows with a symbol that signifies his ownership of them. Is it safe to say that we will soon be “owned” by companies that choose to brand us with their names and logos? From the looks of the man on Conan, it does not seem too unlikely. I fear that the future of humans will be walking, talking billboards.

Perhaps the fact that we still wear clothes, hats, shoes, etc. with logos on them, and some of us (not just the man on Conan; people with band tattoos, tattoos that are renditions of famous artists’ paintings, song lyric tattoos perhaps) suggests that WOM has yet to really make its mark in marketing and advertising and I think it really needs to get a move on before we all turn into racecars and cows.


Radio versus Whole Foods

First I need to explain that my name of 'dietpepsi' was simply because the logo was printed on my shirt the day I created my username. Since I tend to lack creativity, I went with the easy, obvious choice.

It has come to my attention that prior to speaking in class I should realize that what I may be about to say would be better off written in a blog. Yesterday, I spoke about my potential word-of-mouth episode. My 'loud mouth' made this blog far more difficult as I tried to incorporate new ideas. However, after class yesterday I remained thinking about my time outside Whole Foods on Saturday. I was part of the 'street team' for a local radio station. We are committed to selling our station so that on Saturday, May 27th, attending the concert at the Hat Shell will be on your schedule. Yes, to answer your question I am still trying to sell the concert to you (notice the date and location included). I could continue giving my usual talk, about whose playing at the concert and other neat things that will be going on, but I'll stop. Instead, I want to ask you if you believe the encounters that I had this past weekend can be indentified as word-of-mouth.

On the table decorated with our radio banner, we had several coupons for yogurt drinks, garden burgers, natural cookies and other organic products. Cups for taste testing also made an appearance. One man imparticular that I recall came up to our booth unsure of what to do. He expressed his strong interest in a certain yogurt drink product, yet we weren't advertising that drink. Instead, we had coupons for a different yogurt drink(in addition to taste testers). The man tried the drink and liked what he tasted. He grabbed the coupons, said he was going to buy the product he had just tried, and turned around.

What he did next was certainly a word-of-mouth episode. He recommended the flavored drink to the complete stranger standing behind him. Now the next person in line was excited and curious to sample the drink. Since no one was behind this man, the 'chain' stopped. I wonder just how long it could have continued had there been more people behind him. Is it considered word-of-mouth if it initially starts with a coupon and somewhat of an not trusted opinion, but then the decision is made by the individual? Another thing that happened was when I was nibbling on one of the oatmeal cookies. A mother of two came up to me and said, "my girls see your reaction to the cookie. It looks great! Can they try it?"

The people walking into Whole Foods probably had little idea that representatives of a radio station would be standing outside promoting both a concert and Whole Foods that day. While some individuals stormed right past our tent, others stopped to mingle and became curious of what we were doing on that cold, rainy morning. I can admit to knowing next to nothing about the products which sat in front of me. I realized in a short time that I could bullshit to the customers and pretend to be educated in what I was giving away. My 'false knowledge' led others to believe the products were good AND healthy. Was I being unethical simply because it was my job to promote these products?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It is obvious to all of us that advertising is blatently in our faces 24/7. Last semester I took a media class with Professor Lancaster and we discussed where advertising was heading. Interactive commercials? more pop ups? etc. We never outright discussed WOM and its effects, but taking this class has made me begin to think.

Last week in class, we read Steve Currans chapter "Changing the Game" in the book, Connected Marketing. In it, he discusses Halo 2's 'ilovebees' promotional game. For those of you who aren't familar with this promotional gimic, at the end of the Halo 2 movie trailer, the website flashed across the screen. Those who visited the website were then drawn into this fantasy world based on the new game. Now, I am not a gamer, nor had I heard of this website until it was brought to my attention via this book, but this is just one example of many that shows the trend of drawing the customer in and in doing so, creating buzz.

Another example, is ABC's hit show LOST. Now again, I am not an avid watcher of this show, but my friends are what you may call obsessed. They're the ones checking the posts after the show to figure out what exactly is going on and obsessively reading the theories online. What some of you may not know if you're not a LOST junkie, is that ABC actually advertises 'fake ads' that run simutaneously with the show. If a LOST fan actually realizes that this ad is actually part of the show and goes to the website, a world of intrique and clues to the show is at their fingertips. Thus again generating more buzz.

Now my question is- both these examples have an extensive fan base to begin with. These interactive websites are drawing in, what I would assume are, already die-hard fans. (I haven't done the actual research to prove that or not) Although these programs draw in the consumer and make them feel as if they were part of the product, are these interactive programs bringing in new consumers?

My point is, that these products would be successful with or without these added interactive games due to their fan base. Was the companies goal to just intrigue those who they already knew would buy the game, or to just generate buzz in hopes of more customers buying the product? I know for myself, I will continue to watch LOST whenever I'm hanging out with my friends, but knowing that there is some website out there that will answer all of my burning questions, really does nothing for me. But that's just me personally, you may feel differently.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Which Came First -- The Chicken or The Egg?

John Moore from Brand Autopsy recently presented his Creationist Word-of-Mouth vs. Evolutionist Word-of-Mouth presentation in Barcelona, Spain at the Second Annual International WOM Conference. I visited his blog "Brand Autopsy" and found that he had uploaded and posted the presentation as a You Tube file. Not only is his blog spreading word-of-mouth but he has also attached a You Tube file which can be shared with others, further spreading his message. I invite you all to watch his presentation.

Moore presents the ideas of Creationism WOM and Evolutionism WOM. He compares the two views with the age old question, which came first-- the chicken or the egg? In WOM terms, which came first-- marketing which generates word-of-mouth or word-of-mouth marketing? This is the debate marketers all over the world are discussing.

He describes Creationism as "artificially ampliphied" marketing. In other words, marketers create word-of-mouth and give it to customers. One example Moore uses is "forehead marketing." One guy agreed to write different company names on his forehead for a hefty price. Talk about generating conversation! Of course, magazines and newspapers grab on to this crazy act and even more publicity is generated.

On the other end of the spectrum is Evolutionism. Moore describes this as organic WOM. Marketers will create a product or experience that attracts consumers who become die-hards or, evangelists. The word-of-mouth that these evangelists spread is naturally occuring, they are not told to spread the word. An example of Evolutionist WOM is TIVO. Owners of TIVO love their product so much that they spread the word through their social networks. An example of an experience that generates WOM for a product is Starbucks. Moore emphasizes that Starbucks actually spends very little on marketing because the experience itself generates conversation among consumers.

Moore ends his presentation asking a question to marketers. Are you living for the dot or the line? The dot is consistent with creationists who believe in short-term WOM to get a message out to the public. The line is consistent with evolutionism which generates organic, long-lasting WOM.

Personally, I think evolutionist WOM is more effective. I mean, I like to believe we are intelligent consumers. If I saw a guy walking around with a company name written on his forehead, the first question I would probably ask is, "how much is he getting paid?" This doesn't neccessarily mean this doesn't generate WOM however, is the WOM about the quality of the product or is it about the stupidity of the act itself? I think a good product will lend itself to organic WOM. Customers who are happy with products want to express their satisfaction. Who are we more likely to trust - someone who is getting paid or our best friend?


The Key to Successful Buzz

--> Our group recently had our phone interview with our company for the WOM project, and I have to say it was a pretty exciting experience. All of our interviewee's answers were well detailed, and exactly what we needed in order to complete our project.
Two things I noticed between Steve Curran's presentation and what our interviewee had to say was that in order to have a successful campaign you have to keep the WOM natural and simple, no whistles and bells.
As a consumer, I know that I hate to being bothered by ads that are always popping up and flashing in my face. I would much rather be bombarded by subtle ads, if I had the chance to choose. I think that as consumers we are so fed up with constantly having things pushed in our faces that it actually may turn us away from a product rather than catch our interest.
WOM marketing has become a very useful, less invasive technique that seems to be working. As we recently read in "The New Mavericks of Marketing" Mark Cuban uses buzz marketing everyday to help improve satisfaction, increase sales, as well as increase their fan base. To go along with the idea of keeping things simple and natural, Cuban states that one should "make it easy and inexpensive for customers to sample your most expensive offering."
This is exactly what our company does. They make it simple and easy for people to test out products and pass along their thoughts to others, totally naturally and at little to no cost to the consumer involved. This idea has proven to work in this company's favor, without flashy ads and annoying pop-ups.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Class 7 Agenda: Viral Marketing and Stimulating WOM and Pass-Along Via Online Gaming

07; Viral Marketing and Stimulating WOM and Pass-Along Via Online Gaming (Thursday)

Learning Objective(s):

· To distinguish WOM, buzz, and viral marketing communication
· To understand principles behind viral marketing
· To understand how viral marketing campaigns are executed

Readings for This Class:

· Viral Marketing. Justin Kirby. Pages 87-106 (CM)
· Changing the Game. Steve Curran. 2006. Pages 129-147. (CM)
· Suggested Reading: Online opinion leaders: a predictive guide for viral marketing campaigns. Idil Cakim. 2006. Pages 107-118. (CM)


· Lecture on viral marketing


· Guest Lecture: Steve Curran, Pod Design

To Do (for next class):

· The Customer Evangelism Manifesto. Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba. 2003. Pages 1-20. (Bb)
· Chapter 12: The New Mavericks of Marketing. Ben Connell & Jackie Huba. 2003. Pages 123-138. (Bb)
· Unleash Your Ideavirus. Seth Godin. 2000. Pages 1-7. (Bb)


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Your Favorite Celebrity, Right In The Palm Of Your Hand

--> Since this class began, I have been much more conscious of the “blogging world” and the natural ability to create a buzz among groups of people. Recently, I was paging through my weekly Billboard and found myself caught by an article entitled “Blogging Enters The Wireless World.”

I began reading and found that Sprint is offering a “mobile blogging service” called “BlogStar.” Here, Sprint gives celebrities a phone and sets up a blog page where the stars can send pictures, videos, and text messages to post directly onto their blog. Their fans can then sign up for the cost of $5.00 a month and access the site. They also “receive alerts when new posts are uploaded, to which they can leave replies and discuss with other subscribers.” The program allows for the fans to both receive the posts and respond directly from their phone or their computer.

From the information I have obtained so far in this class, I can’t help but think this idea has a great future! It allows for the celebrities to directly reach thousands of fans while simultaneously, the fans to feel like they’re close and in direct contact with the stars. For the fans, who I am assuming will be teenagers, they will be able to turn to their friend and squeal, “I just got a text message from Nick Lachey! Oh, and a picture too!”

In addition, it allows for fans to feel as if they are closer to each other and more connected. Since they can post and respond to the text messages received, relationships will form over this new internet/mobile media. The word of mouth will spread through the halls of high schools as fast as the latest prom gossip.

Do you think this new service will succeed?

Sidenote: Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize “blog” and “blogging” as a word.

A Singularly Bad Cell Phone Service

--> Cell phone companies. T-Mobile. Alltel. Verizon. . . Cingular- "raising the bar" with the "fewest dropped calls". A short while ago, I used to be a Cingular customer. When I signed up I chose a two year contract. Worst two years ever. Two years bound to a pain inflicting company. Cingular may not drop your calls, but they sure do charge for roaming. I would rather have my call dropped and know that I had no service, than get charged $300 every month for roaming. And if I began roaming while I talking on my cell, there was no kind of warning system. No beeping or blinking of any kind to warn me to hang up because of astronomical charges quickly accruing on my account. I would unknowingly talk and roam everyday. And pay for it.
Furthermore, I would roam in places that should have gotten adequate service. I mean, this is Boston, a metropolitan city. Not middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin cow fields.

And as for this so-called bar that is being raised- I do not think it is being raised above and beyond to superior service. But rather, it is slowly being raised to where service should have been to begin with. In my own apartment, my phone would rotate between one bar and no service. Cingular should work on raising that one bar I had, to five whole bars- full service. Once they accomplish the task of literally raising customer's bars, they can use the slogan "raising the bar" and mean it.

Now that my two years are over, I have Verizon. I get service everywhere. Moreover, Verizon has no roaming. And since I've had Verizon, none of my calls have been dropped.
And that's not gossip, it's fact.

Class 6 Agenda: Evaluating WOMM Programs

06; Evaluating WOMM Programs (Wednesday)

Learning Objective(s):

· To articulate three principles to explain social epidemics
· To articulate two WOM principles to explain the effectiveness of seeding trials
· To contemplate the ethics of seeding trials in the name of “research”

Readings for This Class:

· Connected Marketing Practice: Seed to spread: how seeding trials ignite epidemics of demand. Marsden. 2006. Pages 3-23. (CM or Bb)


· Tipping Point principles of social epidemics
· Explanations for effectiveness of seeding trials
· Methods of identifying opinion leaders
· 10-point checklist for creating seeding trials


· PPT Lecture: Evaluating WOM Programs
· Activity: Create Your Own Seeding Trial
· Discussion: Do seeding trials truly empower consumers? Is it ethical to call seeding trials “research”?

To Do (for next class):

· Viral Marketing. Justin Kirby. Pages 87-106 (CM)
· Changing the Game. Steve Curran. 2006. Pages 129-147. (CM)
· Suggested Reading: Online opinion leaders: a predictive guide for viral marketing campaigns. Idil Cakim. 2006. Pages 107-118. (CM)


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Husky dollars a pain to everyone

Anyone interested in some negative buzz? I have a problem with the system Northeastern uses that allows it's students to use their Husky cards at off-campus restaurants or sub shops. I, like a lot of people, love putting more of Dad's money on the card as a substitute for my own cash. But unless you use it at one of the on-campus food stops, like Wendy's or Pizza Hut, it can be a pain to everyone.

Case in point. The other day I went to try out that new Temptations place near BHOP. One of the things that attracted me to it was seeing that they accepted Husky Dollars. Free lunch. I go in, order a panini or something along those lines, take out my Husky card to pay, and the machine you swipe the card through isn't working. The same thing happened to me the other day at Il Mondo, a place down by Brigham Cirlce. The guy working the counter at Temptations informs me that Northeastern uses a DIAL-UP modem for the Husky Card service. Dial-up modem? I figured our $40,000 a year we pay would get us something better than dial-up. The guy tells me that the Husky machine almost never works, students come in to the joint, order, then leave without paying after finding out the dial-up modem is down again. Not only does it suck for us students, but it hurts the companies who try to offer the service. I havn't done any research to confirm it actually is dial-up, but whatever Northeastern uses just doesn't seem to work. The only places it's flawless in are the places in Marino and the student center and the places right on campus.

Like I said, it's not ALWAYS a pain, but the system could be easily improved. Upgrade to a cable or DSL modem, exchange the ancient receipt printers for some newer ones, and throw some money into a system students actually take part in.

Maybe it's a sign I should stop living off my parents, but hey, just thought I'd create a little buzz on the topic.


WOM as Self Promotion?

All our discussion so far has been based around WOMM for products and physical things such as bicycle locks, cars, various product promotions etc. What about blog pages where people are basically just running a live journal or online diary type page? These people become highly popular through simple word of mouth because of either what they are writing in relevance to various topics or demographics, or because they provide entertainment. The two main sites that cross my mind (that I learned about through WOM --and as a warning use graphic language and situations) are Tucker Max and Maddox both of whom have just published books based on their blog sites/websites that are a continuation of the popular journals they write. My question would be then, is this considered WOMM with a person acting as the product? Or do blogs like this that are opinionative or simply stories about someone's life actually not market anything at all and remain as stories. Or is this the same thing?

The books that Tucker and Maddox have both written could become marketed by WOM through fans of their sites and, but have these people also been marketed in the same way? Can the web and WOM make people a commodity? Have Maddox and Tucker Max's lives and opinions become valuable to American culture? By including the links to their site, am I promoting them, or their thoughts, opinions, stories, and books -- or all of the above?


Class 5 Agenda: Haven’t We Always Known About WOM? Tracing the History of Academic and Popular Press Ideas of WOM, Loyalty, and Advocacy

05; Haven’t We Always Known About WOM? Tracing the History of Academic and Popular Press Ideas of WOM, Loyalty, and Advocacy (Tuesday)

Learning Objective(s):

  • Identify the primary academic research traditions that inform WOM marketing communication

Readings for This Class:

  • Word of Mouth: What We Really Know – And Don’t. Greg Nyilasy. 2006. Pages 161-184. (CM).
  • What’s All the Buzz About? Everyday Communication and the Relational Basis of Word-of-Mouth and Buzz Marketing Practices. Walter J. Carl. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(4), 601-634. 2006. (Bb)
  • Suggested Reading: Word-of-Mouth: Understanding and Managing Referral Marketing. Francis Buttle. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 6, 241-254. 1998. (Bb).
  • Suggested Reading: Social Hubs: A Valuable Segmentation Construct in the Word-of-Mouth Consumer Network. Andrea C. Wojnicki. 2004. Advances in Consumer Research, 31, 521-522. (Bb)


  • Opinion leadership
  • Diffusion research
  • Social network research
  • Nyilasy’s four quadrants of academic WOM research
  • Loyalty and WOM (discuss in Quadrant III)
  • Social consequences of interpersonal influence model
  • Conversational geography of word-of-mouth project


To Do (for next class):

  • Readings:
  • Connected Marketing Practice: Seed to spread: how seeding trials ignite
    epidemics of demand. Marsden. 2006. Pages 3-23. (CM or Bb)
    • Complete WOMES #1 by tomorrow


    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Class 4 Agenda: WOM Basic Principles

    04; WOM Basic Principles (Monday)

    Learning Objective(s):

    • To distinguish between word-of-mouth and buzz marketing.
    • To articulate the implications of networked-based principles of WOM
    • To apply networked-based principles of WOM to the evaluation of organized WOMM programs

    Readings for This Class:

    • Part One of The Anatomy of Buzz. Emanuel Rosen. 2000. Pages 2-99 (AOB)
    • Suggested Reading: Where’s Debbie? How Consumers Influence Each Other and Practical Steps Brands Can Take to Understand and Harness Word of Mouth. MediaLab. 2004. (Bb)
    • Suggested Reading: The Firm’s Management of Social Interactions. David Godes et al. Marketing Letters, 16(3/4), pp. 415-438. 2005. (Bb)


    • Definitions of WOM versus buzz
    • Rosen’s 10 Network-based Principles of WOM
    • WOM Characteristics of Network Hubs


    • [From Class 03: Finish debrief of WOMMA Terminology Framework activity]
    • Get update on Evaluating Organized WOMM Program Assignment. How is the research going so far? Have interviews with been scheduled yet?
    • Discuss Part I of Rosen’s Anatomy of Buzz
      How does Rosen define “buzz”? Compare and contrast this definition with Newsweek’s definition, as well as with WOMMA’s definitions of WOM marketing and buzz marketing?
      Rosen argues that it’s essential to adopt a network perspective in order to understand WOM. What are the alternatives do you agree or disagree with his perspective?
    • Identify Rosen’s 10 principles of networks and their implications to WOMM. Think through how each principle applies to the organized WOMM program you are evaluating.

    1. Networks are invisible

    2. Nodes of network are characterized by similarity (homophily)

    3. Networks are composed of clusters (cliques)

    4. Buzz spreads through common nodes (“small world phenomena”)

    5. Information can get trapped in clusters (structural holes: “a separation between non-redundant contacts), Ronald Burt)

    6. Network hubs and connectors create shortcuts (liaisons)

    7. Physical proximity affects who talks with whom

    8. Strength of weak ties (Mark Granovetter)

    9. Internet nurtures weak ties

    10. Networks cut across markets

    • Network hubs and their characteristics (ACTIVE mnemonic)
    • Similar to “opinion leaders” but critiques inferences associated with leaders. Hubs are defined in terms of their centrality in a network.
    • Rosen’ Network Hubs:
      Ahead in adoption
      Information hungry
      Exposed to media
    • How buzz spreads
    • It starts with a great product or service
    • Energy of Participants spreading word
    • Credibility of Participants (importance of third parties and competitor

    To Do (for next class):

    • Think through lunches you want to, and can, attend with guest lecturers.
    • First Lunch: Steve Curran, Pod Design. Thursday, May 18th.
    • Readings:
    • Word of Mouth: What We Really Know – And Don’t. Greg Nyilasy. 2006. Pages 161-184. (CM).What’s All the Buzz About?
    • Everyday Communication and the Relational Basis of Word-of-Mouth and Buzz Marketing Practices. Walter J. Carl. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(4), 601-634. 2006. (Bb)
    • Suggested Reading: Word-of-Mouth: Understanding and Managing Referral Marketing. Francis Buttle. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 6, 241-254. 1998.
    • Suggested Reading: Social Hubs: A Valuable Segmentation Construct in the Word-of-Mouth Consumer Network. Andrea C. Wojnicki. 2004. Advances in Consumer Research, 31, 521-522. (Bb)


    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Satellite Radio Revealed

    --> In beginning my reading of “The Anatomy of Buzz,” I found myself looking back on a trip that I went on with students from Northeastern in the MEISA club. We took a trip to New York and went through several music businesses, one being Sirius Radio. The section of the book which discusses “Why We Talk” was particularly interesting in regard to the experience that I had at Sirius Radio. Sirius is the competitor to XM Radio, which is currently the lead in the industry. There was a great amount of buzz created for XM radio mainly through direct advertising found in radio, television, and magazines. Yet, with my WOM experience in NY, I would choose Sirius over XM Radio.

    We went on a tour through the building where we were able to see hundreds of radio broadcasting rooms and talk with many professionals within the company. After our tour we were able to sit down with a woman who was employed there and the rapid fire of questions began, the majority asking why choose Sirius over XM? I was skeptical of Sirius and wanted to think that XM was a far superior company, mainly because of the advertisements that I had seen, but as a result of this informal meeting, I was convinced. She answered every question with Sirius being the better choice. As Rosen says, “we are constantly bombarded with new products that we need to make sense of” and she made this new world of satellite radio make sense to all of us.

    I have since recommended Sirius radio over XM for those making the transition from traditional radio formats into this new realm. Also, having the desire to work in the music industry, there is always a high level of frustration when it comes to the monotony of songs that receive airplay, and as a result of satellite radio, this frustration disappears. There are almost two hundred channels which play all different types of music and there are never any commercials!

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    you know what really grinds my gears

    I just started reading The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen and I found it quite interesting. The Bogsphere turns the Internet into a truly two-way medium giving a voice to everyone that takes the time to find the right place to leave the right message. One of the parts in Anatomy of Buzz gave evidence to the fact people communicate a bad experience to more people then a good experience. In keeping with that id like to share two organizations that give me bad experiences everyday. These are also two organizations make me feel powerless as an individual.

    Bank of America

    I had been a very satisfied Fleet customer; they never caused any errors also making the banking experience quick and painless. Over the months during the switchover I never had any problems. Now I can say in the last fourteen months Bank of America has lost three large cash deposits. Between my roommates I am the one that always collects rent so being last minute, as most college kids are, I always end up with my roommates money late into the month and have to get it into my account so the check will clear. On all three occasions the money was never put into my account until I called many times over, one time I had to fax my receipt to someone that was doing an investigation. I know many other people who tell me horror stories just like mine. The reason I stay…. They are everywhere.


    I also have been reading about the proposed increase in fares. The only thing I can think is how do they expect me to pay more for such lousy service. I am always late everywhere I go, even when I leave plenty of time for MBTA. I wonder what it would cost if the MBTA was mostly government subsidized. They would give passes to all Boston residents and only charge tourists. I know there are a lot of problems but I think it would work and at the same time encourage people to use public transportation.

    One last shout out to my brothers Blog popbytes chillen over on the west coast.


    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Class 3 Agenda: Overview of WOM Industry Companies & WOMMA Terminology Framework

    03; Overview of WOM Industry Companies & WOMMA Terminology Framework (Thursday)

    Learning Objective(s):
    • Apply WOMMA terminology framework to characterize an organized WOMM program
    • Demonstrate understanding of key issues surrounding the WOMM industry

    Readings for This Class:
    • Word of Mouth Marketing Association Terminology Framework. WOMMA. 2005. (Bb)
    • Suggested Reading: Word-of-Mouth Marketing Priorities for 2006. Peter Kim & Charlene Li. 2006. (Bb)

    • WOMMA Terminology Framework

    • Pick up from last class about key challenges and priorities for WOMM industry
    o Also take questions on any of the readings
    Activity: Applying WOMMA Terminology Framework to Organized WOM Marketing Program
    • Assign WOM Diary
    o Sign-up for 4-digit IDs.

    To Do (for next class):
    • Continue research on your organized WOMM programs
    • Readings:
    o Part One of The Anatomy of Buzz. Emanuel Rosen. 2000. Pages 2-99 (AOB)
    o Suggested Reading: Where’s Debbie? How Consumers Influence Each Other and Practical Steps Brands Can Take to Understand and Harness Word of Mouth. MediaLab. 2004. (Bb)
    o Suggested Reading: The Firm’s Management of Social Interactions. David Godes et al. Marketing Letters, 16(3/4), pp. 415-438. 2005. (Bb)