Word of Mouth

From Brad Stone’s arti­cle in the New York Times, look­ing at how mar­keters are try­ing to over­come ad sat­u­ra­tion and inject mes­sages into the con­ver­sa­tions peo­ple are hav­ing on their social networks:

“We don’t want to cre­ate an army of spam­mers, and we are not try­ing to turn Facebook and Twitter into one giant spam net­work,” said Joey Caroni, co-founder of Peer2. “All we are try­ing to do is get con­sumers to become mar­keters for us.”

The idea is that, rather than just auto­mat­i­cally ignor­ing the ads, peo­ple might trust ads that come from their friends.

Could this work? Yes, but prob­a­bly not for long. A few peo­ple might make a lit­tle money for a few months, but over time, the peo­ple tar­geted by these ads will get fed up and stop fol­low­ing the peo­ple ped­dling the ads.

You can’t pay for word of mouth adver­tis­ing. You can’t make peo­ple talk about your prod­uct by pay­ing them to do so. These sorts of things, for them to work in a mean­ing­ful way, have to be spon­ta­neous and real. If they are arti­fi­cial, these con­ver­sa­tions will be hol­low, espe­cially if the adver­tis­ing Twitter user doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.