Monday, June 19, 2006

Self-Evangelist

“Evangelist Marketing,” as defined by WOMMA, involves “Cultivating evangelists, advocates, or volunteers who are encouraged to take a leadership role in actively spreading the word on your behalf.” Many WOM Marketers employ evangelism, notably Ben McConnell and Jackie Hubba of the Church of the Customer.
While these approaches have been effective, they all focus on the consumer. Yes, it is remarkable when someone cares enough about your product or service enough to want to become an evangelist for you, but can’t the people who make the product or service be evangelists? Isn’t someone loving what they do and make and really believing in it just as remarkable?
A few weeks ago I met Tim Fish, creator of the gay romance comic Cavalcade of Boys, at Comicopia, He was there signing some of his work, and even had advanced copies of some stuff. Even though it was torrentially raining outside, there was still a decent turnout, but I still got to talk to Fish for a little bit. I asked him about how he broke into comics, and told me that he had to publish his own stuff, working really hard on both creative and marketing levels, so that he would have to show the big companies like Marvel. He’s been self-publishing for years, not only writing, drawing, and lettering all his comics, but also dealing with distributors. He did all of this while working a day job to support himself. Fish obviously had a great enthusiasm and love for his work and medium, and was willing to sketch in each of the comics from the huge pile I brought. He even did sketches for another guy of characters that he has no affiliation with. Several customers came into the store while I was there, and ended up leaving with copies of Fish’s comics, even though they had never heard of him before.
I think he is a perfect example of Self-Evangelical marketing. He goes to conventions and comic stores and gets his name out there. For years, WOM was the only marketing he had, exposing fans to his product, and they would in turn expose their friends. Since he is so indie, he has credibility that creators linked to the large publishers lack. And just talking to him, it is obvious he loves what he does. Like other customers in the store, if I had gone in not knowing who he was, after talking to him, there is no way I could have walked out of there without buying his work.

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2 comments:

couture said...

Eric I've wondered that myself; why is it that individuals loose credibility if they are linked to the company or product they are promoting? I can understand that people may not view their opinions as unbiased however, aren't these people the most knowledgable and enthusiastic?

I thought about this for awhile today (mostly because I was bored at work) and I believe that a lot of critisizm towards "insider wom" as I will call it comes not from people not trusting individuals who are involved with a product or company. I think the skeptisism comes more from the fact that people generally tend to trust word-of-mouth from people they know intimately or on somewhat of a personal level. In my opinion the reasoning behind why involved parties can't traditionally promote their products through WOM successfully is not because people don't trust their word, but becasue in order to really spread the word you need a number of people who are connected to various networks to get the word to spread widely or with any real speed. I'm not basing this on any data or anything, just my observation based on what we've learned in class and through my own observations. What do you think?

Jesols said...

I'm sorry to bring up Johhny Cupcakes for the bijillionth time, but after reading your comment couture, I would have to disagree that those who promote their own products do have credibility. In Johnny's case, it seems like he, like Tim Fish, promoted and began the buzz about their products. I can see where you'd say that this company took off after the spread of WOM from others in other networks and I agree with that, but it was Tim's passion and Johnny's passion that began that intial buzz. Just a thought.