Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is Fake Word Of Mouth Still Word Of Mouth?

I was reading a book about word of mouth the other day, and there was a chapter about underground/guerilla style marketing and how its no longer as effective as it was. The big reason is because there are mainstream marketing companies designing faux underground campaigns that use paid scripted actors who shill products in situations that seem more organic, like they happened naturally.

Is this really the death of word of mouth? I don't think so. No matter how it starts, word of mouth is word of mouth. Just because it may have been originated by an actor memorizing a script, instead of a random happenstance, the resulting communications by those who were affected is still word of mouth. Its still organically grown as time goes on, whether it started accidentally or on purpose.

Yeah, its probably not what some of the first word of mouth people had in mind, but in marketing and related things, I don't think there's ANYTHING that has evolved exactly the way that the originators have planned. Sometimes the natural evolution of a strategy is completely against the original thought, but it still works.

As much as people who utilize underground tactics dislike it, things that happen in the underground that work very well, often are adopted by the mainstream. It happens in music, it happens in art, and it happens in business. It doesn't mean that the tactic no longer works, it just means it will probably be changed a little bit to make it more accessible.

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