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)


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