Word of Mouth to Battle Advertising in Blog Fight


While we'd all have to agree that word of mouth marketing is part of advertising and not a separate entity, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association has forged ahead with the launch of the "Word of Mouth vs. Advertising" weblog where industry experts will come together to discuss the merits, impact and relationship of word of mouth to advertising in general. WOMMA says the blog is an experiment in participatory blogging and that 50 or so industry gurus have been invited to express their viewpoints on the topic.

by Steve Hall    Aug-30-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Weblogs, Word of Mouth   

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Being controversial is a good way of gaining participation. WOM v. Advertising should get opinions flying but IMHO, what it screams even louder is that our industry is clueless about what we do and how we do it. Integration baby - they simply DON'T EVER stand alone if there is a well organized unified brand message.

Posted by: Bruce DeBoer on August 30, 2005 1:36 PM

From my perspective, WOM is NOT advertising.

Advertising is something you pay for and have control over.

You don't pay for WOM and it is not under your control. While it may result in a sale, it is better regarded as a facet of public relations.

So much for your basic premise.

Approached from my perspective, it makes perfect sense to have the discussion and there is little controversy, just the exploration of how this can be best approached from your integrated marketing communications viewpoint.


Posted by: JimLane on August 30, 2005 7:49 PM

The fastest growing media is that which consumers create and share themselves. It's TIVO-resistent, and presents unparallelled sources of influence, especially online where consumer expression leaves an unmistakable "digital trail." It this a form of advertising? Of course. Can we entirely control it? No way! Can our product outputs (brand attributes, benefits, customer service) and ad practices (context, tone, and nature of messaging) shape and influence the flow of this consumer-generated media (CGM). Yes, there's hope. Should WOM/CGM and traditional "advertising" somehow hang together? Absolutely, and I did my best to articulate this point yesterday

on the WOMMA board. 

I frankly think there's a real risk of creating a false dichotomy between WOM/CGM and advertising. They share a symbiotic relationship.

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