AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Research suggests that marketers who believe that key 'influencers' affect people's decisions are making a mistake, writes Alan Mitchell.
When Ford was trying to boost the image of the Fiesta, its European-style compact car, in the US, it signed up 100 consumers to use the vehicles on the condition that they shared their experiences through the YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter accounts Ford created for the campaign.
Within six months they had posted 60,000 items, garnered 4.3m YouTube views and, according to Ford, generated 50,000 sales-leads and 35,000 test-drives. All for a fraction of the cost of a traditional advertising campaign.
Stories like this have multiplied in recent years as marketers fall in love with the dream of word-of-mouth marketing. Why pay media owners vast sums of money to send a message if you can get customers to do it for free, or at least at a low cost?
The great marketing educator Philip Kotler wrote in his textbook, Marketing Management: 'Word-of-mouth communication from an immediate and trusted source is typically more influential than media coverage from a remote and trusted source, despite the prestige of the latter.
'This should normally incline the marketer to favour …