WoM: Consumers In Control - Respect, Trust & Marketers Learning to Live With It

Co-founder, at VTTP
Jun. 10, 2007

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WoM: Consumers In Control - Respect, Trust & Marketers Learning to Live With It

  1. Learn more about WOMMA and how we can help you improve your word of mouth marketing program at This presentation is from: (c) 2006 Word of Mouth Marketing Association. You may share this presentation if it is not altered in any way.
  2. Consumers In Control: Respect, Trust & Marketers Learning to Live With It. Robert J. Gould, Ph.D. December 12, 2006
  3. It’s not just about control and we’re not just consumers 2
  4. What people want: • Social connection & community • Self expression • Control AND, oh yes, • Entertainment and information 3
  5. 1950 - 2000 The Era of Vertical Influence Person to Person 4
  6. Remember jingles? Q: TO: NET IMMIGRANTS Remember jingles? Q: TO: NET NATIVES What’s a jingle? 5
  7. Remember jingles? 6
  8. Remember jingles? 7
  9. Remember jingles? 8
  10. Seeds of change: Harbingers of rising horizontal influence CB Radio Apple Macintosh 9
  11. CB radio “On-line” community numbering in the thousands who spent their working lives communicating with each other over the wires but who rarely met face to face. 10
  12. CB radio They tended to use low-traffic periods to communicate with each other, sharing stories, news, and gossip. Many of these working relationships blossomed into romances and even marriages. 11
  13. Apple Computer “1984” commercial 12
  14. Horizontal influence: from a drizzle to a hurricane • Mobile phones/text messaging • Internet/broadband/Google • Wireless • Digital cameras • Cheap video production • VCR/DVR/TiVo/iPods AND ON, AND ON, AND ON 13
  15. The “power boosters” of horizontal influence 14
  16. Power booster 1 – Horizontal knowledge acquisition & production • We have rapidly increasing ability to: • Obtain, organize, share and control information from both vertical and horizontal sources. • Produce and share information of rapidly improving quality (video, graphics, etc.). • Discuss, question and challenge any information we receive vertically. 15
  17. Power booster 1 – Horizontal knowledge acquisition 16
  18. Power booster 2 – Horizontal social networking • We’re social animals. We seek out people who share our interests and values, and establish communities. • In the vertical era, limitations of time, space and media ensured that demographics, geography and shared vertical media experience dominated social networking. • In the horizontal era, people can network with whomever -- whenever, wherever, and however many -- along myriad shared interests. 17
  19. Power booster 2 – Horizontal social networking 18
  20. Power booster 3 – Horizontal consensus building • For “social animals,” conforming to peer group and cultural norms is a matter of survival. • New technologies are empowering rapid consensus building – around ideas, entertainment, products and services. BOTTOM LINE • It now takes minutes, not months, to know what “we” think about anything. 19
  21. Power booster 3 – Horizontal consensus building 20
  22. Power booster 4 – Horizontal mobilization • When vertical influence dominated, turning horizontal consensus into action was very expensive and very time consuming. Coordinating meetings, protests, voter drives, letter writing campaigns, social events or finding stores with the best prices, made the step between consensus and consequence a long one. • In the horizontal world – with flash crowds, bloggings, e-mails, and text messaging, the step between call to action and action is much, much shorter. 21
  23. Learning to live in a world of rising horizontal influence NEW RULES 1. “Consumers” are not just consumers. 2. Shakespeare got it right: “The truth will out.” Now, it gets out faster, and to everyone. So always tell it. 3. Gladwell’s “mavens & connectors” are out there and more important than ever. Get to know them. 4. The MSM will feed its nemesis. This can be all good, or all bad for you. 5. Nothing replaces “face to face.” 6. Your products and services are an important part of people’s lives. It’s OK to stimulate and participate in the discussion. 7. But remember: your corporate behavior will also be part of the conversation. 22
  24. Thanks!