Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Turner - Possible Negative implications for WOM

As most of you may know, the bomb scares that happened in 9 locations around Boston today were attributed to an advertising campaign for Turner Broadcasting (as reported by Channel 5 news). In a poor attempt to form buzz around an Adult swim cartoon program Aqua Team Hunger Force, Turner communications strategically placed devices in various T stops around the Boston area. Because there was no introduction to the device, or any explicit description of the device, it was seen as suspicious and caused a media frenzy.

This sequence of events shows the delicate nature of advertising a product without providing any additional information. A mysterious device in a subway station, especially given the terrorist plots that took place in London, is an obvious risk to public safety. Companies should therefore examine their marketing initiatives and explore the potential risks before launching a campaign on unsuspecting consumers. As a result of the negative word of mouth around this company and it's failed product placement attempt, the concept of word of mouth marketing could be under scrutiny. Had Turner communications disclosed that they were placing devices in public places, or at least notified MBTA security, they could have avoided this debacle all together. This unfortunate marketing campaign is not going to fair well in the eyes of the already cynical consumer and further underscores the value of disclosure for WOM campaigns.

Rough times for Turner Broadcasting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Microsoft's Vista Marketing Campaign

Microsoft's $500 million ad campaign for Vista is attempting to bring "global 'wow' reaction" according to an article posted on yesterday. It is being questioned as to why such a large budget has been given to market a product which will soon be found on practically every PC from here on out.

Perhaps the most interesting and relevant part of the article is that the campaign, "The Wow starts now" is supposed to produce 6.6 billion impressions in the first few months. It "encompasses an online consumer-participation promotion themed 'Show us your wow' (the winner gets a trip around the world), sponsored webisodes at featuring 'Daily Show' comedian Demitri Martin and an alternate-reality game called "Vanishing Point" that moves between online and offline." Other advertising techniques include an invitation-only party in Times Square hosted by Bill Gates, a human billboard featuring 16 dancers, and TV ads featuring LeBron James.

It seems uncertain whether "The Wow starts now" will deliver its desired results, but it is interesting that Microsoft has decided to include consumer participation into the campaign. The TV ads are likely to receive the most attention, and according to Advertising Age, it won't all be positive word of mouth that swarms the blogosphere.

Class 7 Agenda: Programs & Techniques: Buzz & Viral Marketing

07; Programs & Techniques: Buzz & Viral Marketing

Learning Objective(s):

  • To distinguish WOM, buzz, and viral marketing communication
  • To distinguish between generating buzz and cultivating advocacy
  • To identify the differences between “better targeting” of a message and “connected marketing” (see p. 139)
  • To understand principles behind viral marketing
  • To understand how viral marketing campaigns are executed
  • To identify and leverage a “hot button” issue

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)

Content & Activities:

  • Guest Lecture: Steve Curran & Jessica Morris, Pod Design
    • Bio: Steve is the founder and creative director at Pod Design. His viral marketing campaigns have won numerous awards including Marketing Sherpa’s Best Viral Ad of 2006 Award for is Paparazzi campaign for Peerflix, the peer-to-peer DVD trading site. His work has also been talked about in the NY Times, WSJ, Adweek, Brandweek, CNN Money and NBC News. Before Pod he was co-founder and creative director at e-tractions, a Boston based online promotions company. As VP/Creative Director of Gametek he was responsible for a number of best-selling titles for Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Playstation. He is also the author of two books on motion graphics and convergence design.
    • Bio: Jessica Morris has a background in public relations and new media technology. Her master’s degree is in Public Relations from Boston University and she specializes in online communication and its effect on today’s marketing techniques.

To Do (for next class):

  • Readings:
    • The Influentials: Introduction. Ed Keller & Jon Berry. Pages 1-25. (Bb)
    • Seed to spread: how seeding trials ignite epidemics of demand. Marsden. 2006. Pages 3-23. (CM or Bb)
    • Suggested Reading: People Who Influence People: Opinion Leaders in Marketing. Gabriel Weimann. 1994. Pages 109-138. (Bb)
    • Suggested Reading: 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)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reflection on Jim Nail's Visit to Class (Cymfony)

On Friday our class had the opportunity to hear Jim Nail, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, from Cymfony. The students really enjoyed Jim's guest lecture last summer and so I was sure to invite him back again.

This time around I had him in to speak about monitoring and tracking WOM, which is one of the first class periods where we're going into detail about WOM program principles and measurement. Whether you're tracking WOM in whatever venues it occurs (face-to-face, phone, e-mail, blogs, chat rooms, usenet groups, discussion forums, online communities, etc.) it's important for organizations to understand the existing WOM that is already going on about them.

To set some context for the students, Jim started off with contrasting models of Influence 1.0 and Influence 2.0 to show the impact that social media is having on how we traditionally understand the influence process between organizations and audiences (in many ways, organizations are now becoming the audiences of what people say about them). He then discussed a number of examples of how social media tools give individuals and smaller groups an amplified voice and also how they interact with more traditional mainstream media sources.

There were a couple aspects that I found really beneficial for my students:

1. The goals companies having for monitoring and tracking social media. These include tracking buzz, issues/reputation management, competitive insight and consumer understanding, crisis detection and prevention, awareness of developing trends, and monitoring employee activity (the last one is a bit "Big Brother" and shows, to me, the control aspect that can still dominate some organizations).

2. The advantages and disadvantages of social media analysis versus more traditional market research techniques. He identified a number of challenges that more traditional survey research is now facing, including response bias, the ease with which people can avoid surveys, opinion fatigue resulting in lower response rates, and the danger of polling the same people again and again. The advantages he identified of social media analysis were that it was observational (unaffected by a researcher's presence), access to direct consumer language that is not filtered, and it was available in real-time. Even though his company's business model clearly favors social media analysis he did a nice job to talk about the advantages of more traditional quantitative and qualitative approaches, including ethnography, as forms of market research. He also identified a couple challenges that social media analysis faces -- representativeness and identifying speakers -- and how these challenges are confronted by companies like Cymfony, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, Brandimensions and other players in this space.

At this point I'll let my students comment on what they took away from Jim's guest lecture. Students posed some good questions so maybe they can share what they asked and what Jim's response was.

To Jim, thanks so much for coming in again this year. I really appreciate the care you took in customizing a presentation just for the class and covering so much ground in such a short time!


Friday, January 26, 2007

Class 6 Agenda: Monitoring and Tracking WOM

06; Programs & Techniques: Monitoring & Tracking WOM

Learning Objectives:
• To understand the importance of understanding existing WOM about your organization,
• To understand the importance of understanding existing WOM about your organization,
brand, product, or service
• To articulate the opportunities and limitations of tracking WOM in online, consumer-generated
• To articulate the opportunities and limitations of tracking WOM through single-source,
survey-based measurement

1. The Forrester Wave™: Brand Monitoring, Q3 2006. Peter Kim. 2006. Pages 1-14. (Bb)

Consumer Opinions & Trends Report: A Blue Christmas for Blu-ray. Cymfony. 2006. Pages 1-5. (Bb)

Single-Source WOM Measurement: Bringing Together Senders & Receivers; Inputs & Outputs. Ed Keller & Brad Fay. 2006. Pages 31-41 (Bb).Content & Activities:

• Guest Lecture: Jim Nail, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Cymfony; Board of Directors for WOMMA
  • Bio: Jim Nail has an extensive background in integrated marketing through his 25-year career that spans online marketing, market research, brand advertising and direct marketing. Jim was an analyst at Forrester for eight years, focusing on how marketing strategies and tactics must adapt to technology-driven changes in consumer media consumption habits. His research addressed best practices in integrated marketing with a focus on how online media can augment the impact of television, print and other traditional marketing tools. Prior to joining Forrester, he helped launch Web advertising network AdSmart, where he served as director of marketing. He spent 15 years planning and managing integrated marketing campaigns at leading advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Draft Worldwide, Bates USA and Hill Holliday. Jim is a frequent participant in marketing conferences and executive forums and has been published and quoted extensively in top-tier and online media.
To Do (for next class):

o Readings:

- 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)


"Citizen Marketer" Happy Slip to Mac: "You're Beautiful"

The latest citizen marketer video that's making its way around the net and through social networks is Happy Slip's "Mac Beautiful" music video.

The young woman who made this video is named Christine and her screen name is "Happy Slip" (great story about how she came up with this screen name). According to her site, she uses her videos as a means of personal expression. Based on a quick scan of the rest of the videos on her site this seems to be her first video that is centered around a brand. Though, perhaps more accurately, the video is centered around her wishes and desires, and the brand happens to be the object of her affection.

OK, two points I'd like to make about this related to our class:

First, let's apply this to our reading of Citizen Marketers and their typology of citizen marketers: filters, fanatics, facilitators, and firecrackers. It seems that this video fall in the tradition of George Masters' work with the iPod, who the authors identify as a "firecracker" ("the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers"; p. 17). These folks
"typically attract considerable attention because they have created a song, animation, video, or novelty that generates a lot of interest but tends to die out quickly as the creators go on with their other work" (p. 17).
However, Happy Slip is also a passionate fan of the Mac. But does this make her a "fanatic" in the Citizen Marketer typology? I would argue no because she's not really maintaining a whole site completely devoted to Apple. Instead, consider someone like Asif Alibhai, a student living in London, whose site catalogs every piece of Apple Computer video advertising ever created (thus making him both a "fanatic" and "filter"). Maybe someone can visit his site to see if Happy Slip's video makes it there (does Asif have a section just for consumer generated videos rather than those produced by the company?).

And this leads me to my second point. Is the way you classify a citizen marketer (or the activities of a citizen marketer) consequential to how a company should respond to the citizen marketer's contributions? For example, should Apple respond differently to Happy Slip than they do to Asif Alibhai?

It's clear that both Asif and Happy Slip are big fans of Apple, both are using social media as means of personal expression, and both are paying Apple a huge compliment. But it seems that one has more of a commitment to acting as a filter about the brand (Asif), whereas another has a commitment to expressing her personality and desire (which may just happen to be about a particular brand). And maybe also consider how do you think each may want Apple to respond, if at all?

What do you all think? Maybe we should think about all the different ways Apple could respond? I'll also invite Happy Slip and Asif to contribute their views if they so desire.

Hat tip: Pete Blackshaw's CGM blog


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thanks, Director Mitch

-->It's always interesting to me when you learn about something new and suddenly that thing seems to start showing up in all these other elements of your life (I know there's a word for this, and I'm hoping someone will leave a comment to tell me what it is!). For example, if I learn the meaning of a new word I'll start noticing that word being used all over the place.

That being said, we were just asked in my Consultation Skills class to do research and write a report on a consulting firm that we were interested in learning more about. During my research, I came upon a blog called "The Window Manager" that mentioned the firm I'd selected. The blog is run by a man going by the name of "Director Mitch," and the post that I was interested in was written in April of 2004 about his experience in taking a class that was given by this particular consulting firm. The purpose of the class was to prepare the participants for things like televised interviews and dealing with the press. Director Mitch wrote that the class began with mock interviews conducted by "hostile reporters" in real television studios and in front of rolling cameras, and that they revealed how much the participants had to learn about things like handling difficult questions. Director Mitch went on to write that despite the humiliation of the initial interview, the class was great and he ended up learning a lot. He concluded by recommending that anyone given the opportunity to take the class should do it.

I don't know how many people read this man's blog, and it was just a brief notation in a journal-style format, so it wasn't anything like the fantaticsim we've been reading about in Citizen Marketers. I just thought it was interesting that taking this class has really been the first time that I'd thought much about blogs or word of mouth as a marketing tool and how powerful they both can be, yet they turned out to be things that I was able to use as a sort of unusual resource for a class of a totally different nature.

WOM impact on brand conversions, is it growing?

Tuesday in class we discussed outcomes of WOM, one result being brand conversions. A study conducted by Katz and Lazarsfeld in 1955 found that WOM was 7x more effective in branding switching than newspaper or magazine ads. Additionally, Day found WOM 9x more effective than ads in converting negative or neutral attitudes to positive attitudes. It is obvious from these results that WOM has a profound impact on consumers relative to other media forms. But how much of this has changed over the past 50 years?

I would argue that the effectiveness of word of mouth has greatly increased. In a world where everything is saleable, we are inundated with media messages. The consumer has learned (or tried) to ignore this ad clutter. We have become ad skeptics, not just because of the volume of advertisements but also because of the values they are being paired with brands.

Advertisements have changed drastically from fact/product based to more value based. With the increase in brands that sell similar products, companies must distinguish their product from another by marketing its associated ideals. Through this, we sometimes loose the original intent of the product. Thus a recommendation from a friend or trusted person would be far more influential than a traditional advertisement.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cluetrain Manifesto and the Language of the 18th Century French Court

A few classes ago we were talking about the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto and the reference to the language of the 18th century French court.
In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business -- the sound of mission statements and brochures -- will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.
In order to do some background research on the reference I asked Dr. Gregory Brown, a faculty member at UNLV who teaches a class on French Cultural History in the 18th Century. In an e-mail reply, he said that the reference to the language of the course "is clearly referring to the highly scripted nature of many social interactions among the king, queen and their courtiers."

He went on to say that the classic work in this area is Norbert Elias' Court Society, which is based "primarily on sources from the 17th century rather than the 18th, but the points are more or less valid." He added that might be especially interesting to us "since Elias (writing in the 1930s) makes comparisons of 17th-century courtiers to 'modern businessmen' in terms of their interactions."

He also suggested we could read his book where he also writes a bit about the French court.

Thanks Dr. Brown!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Class 5 Agenda: Overview of WOM Programs & Techniques

Learning Objective(s):

  • To distinguish among various techniques of WOM marketing
  • To articulate advantages and disadvantages of “generating buzz” and “brand advocacy”

Readings for This Class:

  • WOM 101. Word of Mouth Marketing Association. 2005. (Bb)
  • Introduction and Summary. Paul Marsden. 2006. Pages xv – xxxv. (CM)

Content & Activities:

  • Finish overview of WOM principles PowerPoint
    • Resume with WOMUnit section
  • Discuss class readings
    • WOM101.
      • Discuss organic versus amplified
      • Types of WOMM; go over each one and discuss examples
    • Connected Marketing introduction
      • Product advocacy, not campaign buzz, is what drives growth (or is at least correlated with growth) (p. xxvi of CM)
      • To decide whether or not a product or service is appropriate for a WOMM campaign think about whether or not it’s worth recommending. (CM)
      • Create something remarkable (CM)
      • CGM leaves a “digital trail” which makes it easier to measure. For example, CGM can be used to track the effects of other elements of the marketing plan (p. 10)
      • create-a-campaign v. Chevy Tahoe ad
      • Monitoring CGM:
        • Identify who’s speaking
        • Identify and flag key issues
        • Deepen relationship marketing efforts
  • Guest Speaker: Kate Flanagan (NU Advising case)
    • Apply various techniques of WOM marketing to facilitate WOM about meeting for academic advising

To Do (for next class):

    • Readings:

1. The Forrester Wave™: Brand Monitoring, Q3 2006. Peter Kim. 2006. Pages 1-14. (Bb)

2. Consumer Opinions & Trends Report: A Blue Christmas for Blu-ray. Cymfony. 2006. Pages 1-5. (Bb)

3. Single-Source WOM Measurement: Bringing Together Senders & Receivers; Inputs & Outputs. Ed Keller & Brad Fay. 2006. Pages 31-41 (Bb).

4. Suggested Reading: Buzz Monitoring. Pete Snyder. 2006. Pages 119-128. (CM).

5. Suggested Reading: Consumer Generated Media (CGM) 101: Word-of-Mouth In the Age of the Web-Fortified Consumer. Pete Blackshaw and Mike Nazarro. 2004. (Bb)

6. Suggested Reading: Using Online Conversations to Study Word-of-Mouth Communication. David Godes & Dina Mayzlin. Marketing Science. 2004. Pages 1-17. (Bb)

7. Suggested Reading: Utilizing the WOMMA Framework to Build a Syndicated Buzz Tracking Product. Jonathan Carson. 2005. Pages 71-76. (Bb)

8. Suggested Reading: What Motivates People to Review a Product Online. Chrysanthos Dellarocas & Ritu Narayan. 2002. Pages 77-86. (Bb)

9. Suggested Reading: The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews. Judith Chevalier & Nina Mayzlin. 2005. Pages 1-30. (Bb)


Class 4 Agenda: Overview of WOM Programs & Techniques

Learning Objective(s):

  • Trace the history of academic and popular press ideas that inform the current WOM, buzz, and viral marketing industry.
  • Identify various models of WOM used in academic research and industry practice.

Readings for This Class:

  • Word of Mouth: What We Really Know – And Don’t. Greg Nyilasy. 2006. Pages 161-184. (CM).
  • Word of Mouth Marketing Association Terminology Framework. WOMMA. 2005. (Bb)



  • [Finish up with student-generated questions about Citizen Marketers].
  • Get update on organized WOMM programs
  • Get update on Blogger and Bloglines registration
  • Lecture on academic history of WOM research, organized by elements of WOMMA Terminology Framework

To Do (for next class):

  • Continue research on your organized WOMM programs
  • Readings:
  • We’ll have Kate Flanagan come in to work with us on an activity to develop a WOM program for advising students at NU.


Class 3 Agenda: Citizen Marketers in the Age of Conversational Marketing, Part II

Learning Objective(s):

· Identify factors contributing to the recent resurgence in WOM;

· Articulate how WOM is both a set of activities and a larger philosophy.

Readings for This Class:

· Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message. Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba. 2007. Pages 97-134 (Chapters 5-6; CIT)


  • PowerPoint on Citizen Marketers:
    • Introduction (7 pages): Overview
    • Chapter 1 (1-30): Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators, and Firecrackers
    • Chapter 2 (31-50): The 1 Percenters (also has explanation for choice of term “citizens” versus “consumers” – Ancient Greece and politeia [community of citizens, constitution, form of government, and way of life])
    • Chapter 3 (51-70): The Democratization of Everything – tension between democratization and control., Cubs, Six Apart’s Movable Type, U.S. Gov’t transparency; Web 2.0 (“creating collaborative Web experiences when information is shared multilaterally”; Mashups (p. 57); Social media; Ray Kurzweil (“the speed, capacity, bandwidth, and overall power of computers and electronic gadgets has begun to double every year” (Moore’s law suggested every 18 months the number of transistors that could fit on a chip would double); Kuhn and paradigm shift; broadband saturation;
    • Chapter 4 (71-96): Everyone Is a Publisher; Everyone Is a Broadcaster; short overview of media history: Acta Diurna, printing press: blogs, podcasts, RSS, TiVo case study, MySpace & You Tube
    • Chapter 5 (97-120): Hobbies and Altruism; Surge case study (Karcovack and Coca-Cola); citizen marketers crave a sense of ownership of the brand; hobbies, productive leisure, disguised affirmation (p. 108), market helping behavior (109), motivations to engage in market-helping behaviors (altruism, personal relevance, common good, and status, 110-115); “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “the sophisticated delivery of stupidity”; millenials (born after 1982) and pop culture
    • Chapter 6 (121-134): The Power of One; case studies: Apple iPod and the meme; Comcast and the spread of a meme; Target (introduces “astroturfing”), Diet Coke and Mentos; Flickr and the “interestingness algorithm”; “the act of consumption is itself becoming an act of production” (p. 134).


  • Assign Blog Participation
    • Explain Bloglines account
  • Assign WOM Diary
    • Sign-up for 4-digit IDs.
  • Discuss citizen marketers – students generate discussion topics based on questions and comments prepared for class.

To Do (for next class):

  • Continue research on your organized WOMM programs
  • Readings:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Course Blogging Guidelines

In tomorrow's class I'll be assigning the blogging participation assignment. Below are the guidelines that I propose we use for the course:

Course Blogging Guidelines

1. This blog is a space to carry on conversations regarding our course and course-related concepts. Thus, all posts and comments should be related to students’ experiences with the course and its content. One exception: exam questions should not be posted on the blog. And just like in-class discussions, and unlike some other blogs, it’s not just a place to “express yourself” for the sake of expressing yourself (of course, feel free to have your own blog where you do this).

2. Think before you write and say something interesting and relevant. Your posts will be publicly accessible for a long time, so your contributions to the blog should be well-thought out and relevant to those interested in learning more about organizational communication and word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Provide links to other interesting web-based materials. This is one of the benefits of web logs so take advantage of it.

4. Posts and commentary should be respectful of other’s views and you should not attempt to defame, discriminate, or embarrass others (this includes fellow classmates, guest speakers, instructors from other courses, or any other sentient being). You are personally responsible for the contents of your posts.

5. Respect people’s wishes not to have information included on the class blog. This applies to fellow classmates, guest speakers, and clients. For example, we will have a number of guest speakers in the class who may share information with us that they might not otherwise share so that we have a greater understanding of their company and industry. The guest speaker may request that certain information not be shared on the class blog and thus it would not be appropriate to include that information. Further, we will also be working with actual clients in this class and the projects may involve confidential or proprietary information. This information should not be shared on the class blog either unless explicit permission is granted by the client. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Carl.

6. All blogging activity should be in accord with Northeastern University’s Appropriate Use policy. This comes down to not doing anything that is criminal, causes harm to others, or anything else that you should have learned you weren’t supposed to do in kindergarten.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Class 2 Agenda: Citizen Marketers in the Age of Conversational Marketing, Part I

02; Citizen Marketers in the Age of Conversational Marketing, Part I

Learning Objective(s):

  • Identify factors contributing to the recent resurgence in WOM;
  • Articulate how WOM is both a set of activities and a larger philosophy;

Readings for This Class:

  • 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message pp. vii-96 (Introduction and Chapters 1-4)



To Do (for next class):

  • Create Bloglines account
  • Begin research for Evaluating WOM Program (log into Bb to access resources)
  • Read:
    • Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message. Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba. 2007. Pages 97-134 (Chapters 5-6; CIT)

Comment from McChronicles on My Citizen Marketer Post

I recently posted a review of the book Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message on WOM Communication Study blog that we'll be discussing in class today. I received a comment from McChronicles about the post (I had mentioned that blog in my post), but it was deleted inadvertently when I re-enabled Haloscan commenting (in my switch from the old version of Blogger to the new version).

Anyway, I re-posted the comment and now want to reply to McChronicles since McChronicles is an anonymous blogger (I wasn't sure how else to get in contact; see page 11 of Citizen Marketers for details):

Hi McChronicles,

Thanks for the comment on my blog and for the offer to contribute to the class (which is at

We'll be discussing the first few chapters of Citizen Marketers today in class so I'll ask the students if they have any questions for you. I have a couple questions for you. Should I send them to you in an e-mail message, or should I post them to my class blog and then have you respond to them as comments to the post?




One of my questions concerns how McDonald's has responded to your efforts. What do you think they have done well and what do you think they could do better? What type of response are you looking for from them, if any?

Thank you for reaching out!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Class 1 Agenda: An Introduction to Word of Mouth and Consumer Generated Media

01; An Introduction to Word of Mouth and Consumer Generated Media

Learning Objective(s):

  • Identify factors contributing to the recent resurgence in WOM;
  • Articulate how WOM is both a set of activities and a larger philosophy;

Readings for This Class:

  • None


  • Distinguish between WOM and CGM
  • Why people engage in WOM.


  • Take roll
  • Take out a sheet of paper. How did you learn about this class? Poll students.
    • If that person heard it from someone else, how did they learn about it?
      • Illustrate networks and pass-along.
    • Why did that person tell you?
      • Illustrate why we are motivated to engage in WOM.
  • PPT: An Introduction to WOM & CGM
  • Pass out syllabus
  • Go over assignments
  • Assign Evaluate Organized WOM Program & Company Project

To Do (for next class):


Monday, January 08, 2007

Let's Get It Started! WOM, Buzz, and Viral Marketing Communication at Northeastern University

I'm excited to announce that the first class of Word of Mouth, Buzz, and Viral Marketing Communication is tomorrow at 9:50 am. I taught this course over the summer of 2006 and we had a wonderful time (be sure to check out the archives for student comments).

Here's a link to the new syllabus for those who want more details about the class.

The class size is smaller this term, around 10 students, so we'll be able to have a lot of great interactions. Students will be blogging again so we invite all the readers to participate through commenting on their posts.

I've kept the main assignments the same with some minor tweaks based on student comments from last time around...
For the Evaluating Organized Word-of-Mouth marketing Program and Company assignment we'll be partnering with leading firms (and WOMMA member companies) including...
...and we have another all-star line-up of guest speakers...
In addition to academic journal articles, news reports, and blog posts, two of the required books for the course include Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba's Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message and Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden's edited collection Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution.

We'll also be working with the folks in Northeastern's Marketing Communications -- Brian Kenny, Alyssa Meritt, and Ann Comer -- as clients for the capstone assignment.

Thanks to the following individuals and companies for allowing us to post some of their content as class readings on our course Blackboard site: Peter Kim of Forrester, Tim Keiningham of Ipsos Loyalty, Brad Fay at The Keller Fay Group, Kate Kaye of Lowbrow Lowdown, Andy Sernovitz (for a special gift that the students don't yet know about), and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

Let's get it started!