Word Of Mouth Marketing Is Not Putting Words In The Mouths Of Others

from the just-saying dept

Over the past few years, there's been a ton of attention paid to the concept of "word of mouth marketing." A year ago, we were cracking jokes as we wondered just how the folks behind word of mouth conferences "spread the word" about their events. However, since that time, it seems like the concept of "word of mouth marketing" has taken on a life of its own, with a bunch of true believers. Of course, once it reaches that stage, sometimes things can get carried away. Well known (and deservedly so) PR exec Steve Rubel who obviously spends a lot of time thinking about these things, and has done an amazing job dragging a lot of old world PR people into the internet age, has called out "marcom guru" Jack Trout, for writing an article that supposedly trashes the concept of word of mouth marketing. From reading Rubel's post, it does, indeed, seem like perhaps Trout is simply pining for the "old ways" and dismissing an idea he doesn't get.

However, reading through the original column by Jack Trout, it appears that the main point of his argument may have been missed in Rubel's reading. He isn't trashing word of mouth marketing in the slightest. If anything, he appears to understand it much better than many of those who now proclaim themselves to be in the word of mouth marketing "industry" (yes, a scary thought). What Trout is saying isn't that word of mouth marketing is bad -- but that it shouldn't be an industry at all, because as soon as it becomes an industry, you get people (and companies) who are trying to control and manipulate it -- and that doesn't work. Trout is pointing out that word of mouth marketing works because it's not about marketing and PR people, and when they get involved, they tend to muck it up. That doesn't mean you shouldn't watch what's going on and respond to things, but to focus solely on word of mouth marketing is a strategy doomed to fail. Instead, Trout seems to be suggesting, you should focus on building great products and making sure people know about them (what he calls advertising, but which encompasses a lot more than traditional advertising). If you do that, the word of mouth marketing part should come for free... not from some word of mouth marketing industry expert.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    NOCcer, Mar 10th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    No Subject Given

    Rubel missed the point, or ignored the point?
    After reading both columns, I think Rubel is choosing to misrepresent Trout's argument in an effort to keep his scheme in a positive light.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    TMS, Mar 10th, 2006 @ 5:19am

    This Topic and Dead Dogs

    Mike, I just think that this one is a dead dog, let it go on quietly into the dark. I do like this forum, and it has the potential to draw a decent audience.
    It does however, seem to lack enough serious debate on serious subjects (both societal and technological) of which several have been addressed on other forums the past few days.
    Perhaps I am missing something.
    Question: Mike are you a one man show here, you go back in post to at least 02'and I see topic after topic with your name on it, this must be like, well your "job"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Curtis, Mar 10th, 2006 @ 6:36am

    Re: This Topic and Dead Dogs

    What Mike has done is point out that if we are going to make expensive decisions based on the opinions of people with a hidden agenda, that we should think carefully about what they say.

    I, as one spending money to create buzz, appreciate this topic and Mike's analysis.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    JackR, Mar 10th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    Re: This Topic and Dead Dogs

    Has the potential to draw a decent audience? Isn't tech dirt one of the biggest name tech blogs around?

    Anyway, I found the topic to be interesting. It's not a "dead dog" at all. There's too much talk about this Word Of Mouth stuff, and the post raises the important issues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    purnima, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 1:13am


    Has anyone out there heard about WideCircles.com. It seems like a way better service then regular pay per click. Apparently they are using refering websites ( forums, blogs, wiki, etc. ) and have a viral word of mouth distributed approach to it which is engaging rather ther then interrupting customers. My friend told me he got over 500 visits from single post which cost him around $0.40c, within a few days. I am going to give them a try today . In case you are intrested here is it. http://widecircles.com?imt=3

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:27pm

    I do not have any experience about this. I am going to improve my knowledge about mouth marketing.
    Social Media Marketing

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Sandy Swiss, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    TMS Consultants

    My job needed a better way to market and manage our chain, At my place we consulted www.go4sight.com to help us achieve better software for managing out supply chain needs. I'm pleased with the results!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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