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. -->


Kennie Swanson said...

Awesome post! There is definitely a lot of chatter going on about the revitalization of WOM marketing. I think that it's pretty exciting for all of us to be experiencing it first hand through this class! I'm sure as many of us begin to blaze a trail in the job market we will see more companies popping up that specialize, and seek for WOM marketing programs.

Right now, I feel that the anxiety companies have with WOM is simply present because traditional ways, just like old habits, are hard to break. As we've been talking about, the issue of ROI with WOM is a main concern for many companies because they don't know how their dollar will pay off. This concern is also true with corporate blogging, but sooner or later organizations will have to realize that business is changing, and these new tools are highly valuable. Once companies feel confident that WOM programs will pay off and start focusing long term rather than quarter to quarter, I think more corporations will join the WOM craze.

couture said...

My thoughts exactly Kennie! I agree that one of the main concerns which deter companies from developing WOMM is that measuring ROI on WOMM campaigns is still a process that needs perfecting.
You made an interesting point about companies focusing on long term goals instead of quarter to quarter however, I think WOMM has great potential to boost quarterly numbers. Instituting a WOMM program could significantly boost quarterly earnings by generating buzz and creating excitement about products and services. This in turn could boost stock prices (which is the main objective of any public company). That said, I agree that we will see more and more companies taking advantage of WOMM.