Ride word-of-mouth movement

The turn of the calendar year inevitably incites end-of-year reflections and New Year resolutions. Many times, to welcome in the new, we’ve got to let some things die. As such, I’ve been contemplating the evolution of our industry and begun questioning the shelf life of a traditional “campaign” model. Simply put, campaigns are “dead” and it’s far more important to understand the social influence the consumers you’ve already earned the loyalty of and turn them into word-of-mouth marketing powerhouses.

While some brand marketers are wondering why their balance sheets are in the red, others are celebrating their newfound business successes outside of the crumbling  campaign model. Traditional campaigns are losing efficacy, just as customers are becoming increasingly skeptical of messages that are desperately and tactlessly shoved at them.

In sharp contrast, smart marketers will be toasting to the New Year as they’ve unlocked the key to consumer engagement and joined in on the dialogue with their customers.

They are using effective messages and initiatives to ride the wave of social word-of-mouth influence, produced by each online user and spread faster and further than ever before. According to a recent report by comScore, Starbucks’ Facebook fans spent 8% more at the coffee retailer than other Starbucks customers.

With that statistic in mind, perhaps the biggest questions that marketers need to ask themselves is first, “How do I capture more information about the social behavior of my brand loyalists?” And, secondly, “How do I leverage that information in order to ignite the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that will ultimately lead to more sales and brand impact?”

The one-off campaign tactic is quickly losing its pulse, while the budding social branding movements are positioned for longevity. Marketers are better off inspiring their customers to spread the word to others around them, as opposed to just bagging one purchase. Advertisers are now designing ads that are inherently more “sharable,” and are targeted to the perfect person at the perfect time. On the video front, enlightened brand advertisers are also using interactive tools to spark discussion between consumers online and driving online video consumption records.

Today’s savvy marketers view campaigns as lifeless. They will continue to move away from them and towards word-of-mouth social movements. By gauging peoples’ actual interests, purchases and behaviors, marketers can more effectively decipher and empower “socially-influential” customers to accomplish much more rewarding endeavors than just moving a widget. Make your New Year’s resolution around creating meaningful experiences for your customers that translate into word-of-mouth engines that garner greater engagement and financial rewards.

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