Cool Video + Word Of Mouth: MarCom in a Decentralized Media World

Once again, it’s time to lament the ever-more difficult challenge of targeted marketing in a world where information flow is increasingly decentralized.

(For the record, the consumer in me loves and hates this situation; the marketer in me simply finds it an interesting challenge)

The challenge: media – the flow of information to decision-makers – is no longer centralized.

I used to get my technical news from 2-3 magazines. Now, I get it from 20 magazines and e-zines, 3 newspapers, 47 web pages, various email and direct mail… I love the freedom of information. It means that better choices can be made. If one can dig through the noise and hype – the part I hate. 

The way I (and may other people) filter information is via collaborative effort – harnessing our communities to divide up the filtering task. If we each study a small bit, and contribute to central points of (or voices for) information dissemination, we end up with a “best” solution.  This is why Wikipedia works, and Epinions, and Google (basing site popularity on links to the site).

The marketing challenge in this distributed world is penetrating that fabric of reviewers.

Consider, when the sources of information were fewer (like, “all CIOs read CIO magazine”), a PR target was clear: pitch the magazine on an article, get a review, and follow up with direct mail to their subscriber list.

But how can one get similar traction in a world where word of mouth and blogs prevail?

The answer is the Extended Internet Superbowl Ad – something cool, that people want to share and email to each other and talk about... never actually shown except on the Internet. Bob Parsons of GoDaddy and FrenchMaidTV is an expert at this.

Companies are starting to figure this out – dumping their TV ads on YouTube.  But they miss the point – TV ads have to be short, non-clickable, and designed for a mass audience. Net video is more personal, focused, and clickable.

To that point, I’d highlight BlendTec (with their vaguely frightening but funny “will it blend” series) ( and Scalent (a software company with whom I’m involved, where our April Fools video is arguably almost as funny)

One has to love the cost difference, too.

Superbowl ad: Millions of dollars (and hours) to produce.

YouTube… “ad” (?): Tens to Hundreds (maybe a few $k) to produce. (At Scalent, we used a laptop video editing program, a handycam, less than a day and a budget of under $250)

So what’s today’s blog point, other than “ooooo, cool cheap video”?

Just three thoughts:

1. Your product is never too big, too complex, too geeky etc for word of mouth marketing

2. Videos are today’s method. Tomorrow’s will be cell phone. Or something. To alter an old adage, don’t get stuck on the medium, it’s the method.

3. As the old Kinks’ song said, “Give the people what they want”.  Your marketing vehicle is as important as its content load; be sure they match and match the desired information delivery of the target.

[ps: Please buy my book. -- and tell your friends!]


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  • 4/25/2007 2:45 PM Roark Pollock wrote:
    I love the Will It Blend video series as a marketing tool. However, make sure you have your goals documented for every marketing message or campaign prior to its launch. This way you can recognize success and failure on the back end.
    Reply to this
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