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Blogs and Influence


It's been said a lot of ways, and nothing that follows is news to anyone who knows blogging, but I was asked to do this for work, and here's what I wrote:

Blogging is word-of-mouth on a globally accessible scale. Any web site, whether it belongs to the New York Times or whether it belongs to someone in their pajamas in the basement, is just as accessible as the next web site. The web flattens the world by making a single person's voice available to 6 billion people.

If you remember nothing else, remember that blog = word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is the biggest influence in advertising and marketing today. What's your company's buzz? Are people talking about your company/product to their friends? Are they emailing each other to recommend you? Buzz is the coin of the age.

But most companies, while they know that word-of-mouth is the most important marketing vehicle they have, they don't spend their money to reflect that belief.

"Although marketers cite 'word-of-mouth,' 'customer service interaction,' 'Web & interactive' and 'public relations' as the most effective methods for communicating their brand, they spend over 60% of their marketing budget on traditional outreach mechanisms such as broadcast and print advertising, direct mail and corporate communications."
From the survey:
Question: How important are the following vehicles in communicating your brand?

(In Ranked Order)
Web & Interactive
Customer Service Interaction
Public Relations

Print Advertising
Internal Communications
Corporate Communications
Promotional Events
Communities & Affinity Groups
Direct Mail
Broadcast Advertising
Packaging & Point-of-Purchase
Outdoor & Environmental

Question: In which areas is most of your marketing budget spent?

(In Ranked Order)
Broadcast Advertising
Print Advertising

Web & Interactive
Direct Mail
Corporate Communications

Promotional Events / Public Relations
Packaging & Point-of-Purchase
Co-Marketing / Communities & Affinity Groups
Outdoor & Environmental / Internal Communications

All blogs, no matter how small, have an effect on influence and word-of-mouth. Take a look at this ripple effect...

Small blogs, even with a small base of readers, are high in trust value. The trust network, and its ripple effect on the purchasing decisions consumers make, is the most effective place to have brand impact. You can't get into those trust networks with traditional media.

Seth Godin wrote, rather influentially, that "small is the new big." In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth says

"Businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional forms of 'interruption advertising' in magazines, mailings, or radio and television commercials. Today, consumers are bombarded by marketing messages almost everywhere they go. If you want to grab someone's attention, you first need to get his or her permission with some kind of bait. Once a customer volunteers his or her time, you're on your way to establishing a long-term relationship and making a sale. By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message. It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange."
Blogs are friends talking to friends. It's what they want to do. They're not watching TV ads (they TiVo past those). They're not reading newspapers (readership is down in almost every market). They're spending their time with each other, and increasingly that's online.

To reach bloggers, a company needs a blog. Better if they have several. That's where links happen and something written goes viral and gets emailed and talked about.

Buzz is worth more than we think.


by Brett Rogers, 3/7/2007 10:44:28 AM


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