Womma Blog Panel: Session and Questions

We had a great session. I want to thank Deborah and Rick.

We started by asking everyone some questions and the audiences answers:

How may know what a blog is – 95%
How many people read blogs daily – 40%
How many have personal blogs – 30%
How many have company blogs – 20%


How influential are bloggers?

How can you tell how many people are reading blogs?

How are big brands using blogs internally?

Talk about corporate blogs, and transparency.

We needed another hour to get close to answers everyone’s questions.

Using Blogs for Word of Mouth Marketing

I am going to be speaking today at the WOMMA Summit in Chicago. I have been asked to participate in a panel discussion on how blogs can be used to do word-of-mouth marketing. On the panel with me is Deborah Schultz from Six Apart and Rick Bruner from DoubleClick.

I wanted to publish some thoughts here for people who are (and are not) attending the event.

I think there are four reasons why companies should be using blogs to support word-of-mouth marketing:

  1. Blogging is Personal – The vast majority of blogs are written by a single individual. This is what makes the medium compelling. You are hearing directly from another person what they think and how they feel. People talk about their passions. People talk about their day at work. They talk about just about everything.

  2. The people who are drawn to blogging like to talk. They like telling others things. They like being the authority. Just the sort of people you would like talking about you.

    Key point: Get to know the bloggers talking about you and your industry (and I don’t mean by sending them press releases).

  3. Linking – The use of hyperlinks is an integral part of blogging. Bloggers may reference a news story or the latest video game they bought. Those links are recommendations. They are telling people, “Go check it out.”

    By linking to someone else, they also are giving them a gift. Robert Scoble (Microsoft Software Evangelist) calls it GoogleJuice. The more a site gets linked to, the more relevant search engines believe that content to be. Again it is like word-of-mouth–the more you hear about something, the more you start to pay attention.

    Key Points: Make sure your blog posts have permalinks and get familiar with Technorati.

  4. Permanance – The trouble with most word-of-mouth marketing is that it is taking place one person at a time. And each conversation has to take place over and over again.

    The “conversations” that take place on blogs are (relatively) permanent. Before I make any purchase now, I check to see if any blogs have had anything to say. I can see if people liked the hotel they stay at or if I should buy the new Mac Mini.

    Key Point: Consider starting a blog to pull together what bloggers are saying about your company and your products (bonus points if you list the good and the bad).

    P.S. people are going to find both sides whether you like it or not.

  5. Syndication – You are going to hear alot about RSS. It stands for Real Simple Syndication. RSS lets people subscribe to your blog and get notified when you post new content. This lets your biggest fans find out the moment you launch the new product. What would happen if you broke a story on your blog and simply let your evangelists spread the word?

    Key Points: Make sure you have a RSS feed on your blog and start using a RSS reader (like Bloglines) to keep up with blogs.

I have a great list of blogging links in my del.icio.us account. Start at the bottom and work your way up. You will find everything from what is a blog to how to pitch stories to bloggers. I highly recommend the Fortune article on blogging. It is the best mainstream media piece written on blogging thus far.

On the panel today, we will be giving lots of corporate examples of blogging. I wanted to give you a list of other business blogs you can check out. These are smaller companies using blogs in different ways to talk with their customers.

  • Jewelboxing – This is product by Coudal Partners. They have a great feature where they list the cities they shipped to each day. It is a great way to give a nod to customers publicly without creating privacy problems.
  • Green Cine Daily – If you like indie films, there is not a better site on the internet to find out what it going on. When they talk about movies, they link to them in their catalog.
  • 800-CEO-READ – I am a little partial since I do alot of work for 8cr. Here is another example of a company taking their niche (i.e. business books) and striving to provide an unparalleled resources. With reviews/news, text excerpts, and audio content, they…I mean we are well on our way.
  • Atomic Books – This is Baltimore based bookstore. It is a “slice of life” kind of blog, and next time I am in Baltimore I have to go visit them.
  • English Cut – A Saville Row tailor talking about his craft and why his suits are better. And he gives lots of reasons

WOMMA Summit – Day 1

Here are my notes the first day of the WOMMA Summit:

Dave Balter, CEO of BzzAgent

4 Keys to WOM

  • Community of Influence
  • Experience and Training
  • Coummunications
  • Analysis & Adjustment

Why do people share things via WOM?

  • Helping/Educating
  • Proving Knowledge
  • Find Common Ground
  • Validating Our Opinion
  • Pride

80% of WOM occurs offline.

Value of Negative WOM:

  • Learn by Listening
  • 50% of Negative WOM is result of injustice
  • Wake up your quiet advocates

George Silverman, author of the Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

People take action on 1 in 15,000 ads they see
People take action on 1 in 3 recommendations they receive

WOM is 5000X more powerful.

WOMMA Ethic Guidelines – Lots of Talk. Key tenet in the Guidlines is the Honesty ROI.

  • Honesty of Relationship – Say Who You Are Speaking For
  • Honesty of Opinion – Say What You Believe, Don’t Shill
  • Honesty of Identity – Say Who You Are

There was an interesting discussion around the developing area of WOM metrics. Too much to summarize.

Pete Blackshaw and Jim Nail had a great session on how the customer is in control. Check out HybridBuzz.com and BlogPulse. They have research that shows after WOM the next two most trusted sources for consumers are websites and email they receive. I found this amazing.

Here are Guy Kawasaki 10 points on Selling the Dream:

  1. Make Meaning
  2. Niche Thyself
  3. Don’t Be Paranoid
  4. Localize the Pain
  5. Let 100 flowers bloom
  6. Look for agnostics, not atheists
  7. Enable Test Drives
  8. Provide a Slippery Slope
  9. Make them feel a part of the team
  10. Don’t ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t
  11. Be a mensch

I attended a panel on WOM in the music industry. So-so.

I am now attending one on using WOM in specialty markets. Greg Stielstra, author of Pyromarketing is talking about Purpose Driven Life, the 22 million copy bestseller. I just said critics are as important as praisers. They help frame the market for your product.

Friendster is using its network to start WOM campaigns. They chose members whose interests matched that of the campaign. They have done things with Apprentice 2 and The Aquatic Life.

Last session is brands using WOM. Interesting stuff from Jake on the stuff he is doing with Lego.

Michael Wiley is talking about the GM blogs. He gets it.

Enough for today. I need dinner.

Robots is Terrible

Amy and I went with two of our friends to go see Robots yesterday afternoon.

I thought it sucked. It was a complete waste of time.

The problem was the story was really weak. I was bored halfway through. How Fox could spend $100 million on a movie like this and not make sure you had the right story baffles me.

I would give it 1 star and that is only because of the animation.

(How is that for WOM?)

Get People Talking

To coax audiences into the theater this weekend, Fox is launching a wide range of promotions for items including a wide range of promotions for items including a Robots Pop-Tart. It’s also making a heavy merchandise play, licensing the creation of some 10 children’s books related to the movie, a coffee-table book on its making, action figures of Rodney and his friends, and a video game. Selling the movie, says Fox’s co-president of marketing, Pam Levine, “is really about creating an event for the general audience and telling them how much we believe in the movie.”

This quote is from Thursday’s The Wall Street Journal article [sub. needed] about Robots, Fox’s new animated film.

This stuff drives me nuts. If you think you have produced a good movie (book, album, product, service,…), the market is going to decide quickly whether or not it is good. Anyone who is going to see Robots opening weekend knew it was opening this weekend without the cross-promotion at Burger King and Verizon. Those folks are going to say yea or nay and that is going to determine the success of the movie. Scoble said at Blog Business Summit that he could see The Incredibles DVD was going to be enormously successful by looking at all the blogs they have talked about how great the movie is.

Word of mouth is the most important form marketing that exists now. I don’t understand why companies don’t understand that. Produce a compelling product, let your biggest fans experience it, and news will spread. Maybe, the problem is there is so much money invested in these projects that companies believe they have to spend lots of money to “make sure” the projects are successful.

We are going to see Robots today. You’ll see word-of-mouth marketing in action (or not).

Podbrix II

Have you been following the Podbrix phenomenon? These little artistically modified Lego men are all the rage.

The $16.99 first edition was an ode to the dancing figures in the iPod commercials. There were 300 produced and they sold out in 10 hours.

The second edition is a carbon copy of Mr. Jobs holding an iPod and an Shuffle. The release coincided with Jobs’ birthday on Thursday. Again, there were 300 numbered units and it only took 36 minutes to sell out.

I put a ebay tracker on these little guys as soon as I heard about the first sellout. There were three first edition Podbrix that showed up this morning. Each of the auctions has more than 5 days to go, but the top price is $157.25.

Citizen Marketers, Rise Up!

Have you seen the latest post from Jackie at Church of the Customer?

There’s a new breed of marketer taking shape these days: Citizen marketers.

Can I add to the list?

  • Jones Soda invites customers to submit photos for their labels. It creates a great partnership between the company and citizen marketers. If they don’t choose your photo, you can order your own Jones with the photo of your choice.
  • Jackie used Amazon’s photo submission option. I like ThinkGeek’s Action Shots better.
  • How about Howard Dean supporters running to Kinko’s, making fliers, and going door-to-door handing them out? And this was before anyone even knew who Dean was.
  • Might I say the Business Blog Book Tour is a form of Citizen Marketing?

BzzAgent: Be Open

I am a little behind on my feeds, but I wanted to point out an significant change at BzzAgent.

In the past, BzzAgent has asked its BzzAgents to “Be Discreet” about their involvement with campaigns. I was a BzzAgent on a couple of campaigns, because I wanted to see what the process was like. I was always a little bothered by having to keep a secret identity, but didn’t have a thoughtful response for an alternate course.

Dave Balter announced a change about two weeks ago. BzzAgents are now requested to:

Be Open

BzzAgents should be entirely open about their identity. As long as you’re sharing your honest opinion, being candid about your involvement with BzzAgent actually helps create better Bzz. If you like a product or service, it doesn’t matter where you found out about it, so don’t feel as though you need to be anonymous or stealthy. Just be open and honest and let your opinion count.

I think this is a great change. I think this will give their efforts even more validity.

Word of Mouth Marketing

I saw this on the back of a bottle of Tuborg Beer in Sweden.

They have left spots on the back for your name and telephone number. Beneath the telephone box, it says “A golden opportunity to let someone else indulge.”

I thought this was great.