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WOMMA stands for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, if you're not already aware. In Chicago on July 13th, it will be holding the first-ever conference, called Measuring Word of Mouth, on measurement, metrics, and standards in word-of-mouth marketing. I must admit that I wasn't that familiar with the organisation unil I had an email from one of their people - Ben - asking if I could mention the event.
According to their website, WOMMA:
is the official trade association for the word of mouth marketing industry. WOMMA's mission is to promote and improve word of mouth marketing by:
- Protecting consumers and the industry with strong ethical guidelines
- Promoting WOM as an effective marketing tool
- Setting standards to encourage its use
Judging by their line-up of speakers and subjects it does sound like it could be quite an interesting event to attend. There are speakers from the Harvard Business School, Future Now, Brand Dimensions and Nielsen/NetRatings. WOMMA claims that attendees will learn 5 things from the event:
- Measure and Track Word of Mouth
- Prove the ROI of WOM
- Create a WOM Media Plan
- Discover Why Messages Go Viral
- Understand Why Customers Talk
Some of the talks and presentations that caught my eye were:
Optimizing WOM: Which Words Work?
Why People Talk: Consumer Behavior and Word of Mouth
"A Case For Using The Internet To Track Offline, Organic Word Of Mouth"
"The Blog Universe: Influencers, Early Adopters and Online Tenure Rolled into One"
"Customer Evangelists are Not Loyal Customers"
If you're interested in going to the event, please send me an email and I can send you a $50 discount code.
I am currently spending a couple of weeks in Madrid - my wife´s home town and it´s quite interesting to see how different 2 countries - Spain and the UK - are with regards the Internet. On arriving in Madrid one of the first cars that I saw had emablazoned across it the name of a well-known estate agents - Look and Find - yet nowhere was the web address displayed. What´s even more bizarre is that the website has a complete listing of properties for Look and Find across the whole of Madrid and Spain!
Even coming from a town which is around 200 miles from London, I find this is very strange to see indeed. The internet cafe that I am currently writing this post doesn´t have a website address - though it is very busy and quite good (3w.com - c/Tetuan, Madrid). I think every small company - even those with under 5 employess - that I work with have a website in the UK.
This is not to say that Madrid and Spain have not adopted the Internet - ADSL is cheaper here than the UK and one of my colleagues told me only the other day that a friend of his is dealing with a Madrid company that´s at the cutting edge of streaming video and doing things which are far more advanced than anything in the UK!
I´ll continue my observations over the coming week.
If you haven't heard about the Long Tail, then you probably soon will - as it is one of the most bandied-about business phrases of the moment. The idea of the "Long Tail" was first coined by Wired's editor-in-chief Chris Anderson in a Wired article October of last year and refers to:
"how the mass market is turning into a million
niches. The term refers to the yellow part of the sales chart [above],
which shows a standard demand curve that could apply to any industry,
from entertainment to services. The vertical axis is sales, the
horizontal is products. The red part of the curve is the "hits", which
have dominated our commercial decisions to date. The yellow part is the
non-hits, or niches, which I argue in the article will prove equally
important in the future now that technology has provided efficient ways
to give consumers access to them thanks to the "infnite shelf-space
effect" of new distribution mechanisms that break thought the
bottlenecks of broadcast and traditional bricks and mortar."
The long tail doesn't refer to the hugely popular 'hit' books, CD's and DVD's which the large retail stores sell to cusotmers (usualy at hugely discounted prices) but the niche products which sell many times less. In a Guardian article on the Long Tail - entitled A Miss Hit - writer Jack Scofield highlights how the average American cinema has no tail, whilst things change greatly with DVD rentals and dramatically with online sales of DVD's:
"Sell movies on DVD,
however, and the economics are different. A movie that wouldn't fill a
local theatre can still sell 1,500 copies across America. And instead
of making a couple of hundred movies available, like a cinema, a
typical Blockbuster can stock 3,000 titles. Most sales will still go to
the big Hollywood hits, but at least we can see the start of a tail.
movies online and the equation changes again. On Anderson's figures,
for example, Netflix offers 25,000 DVDs. The 24,000 or so titles in the
tail may not sell many copies each, but they add up. (Most of Amazon's
sales are of titles the average bookstore just doesn't have room to
The Guardian article cites Amazon, eBay and Google as good examples of the Long Tail in action - the latter due to its Gogle Adsense programme. The Internet has proved to be a great enabler of niche markets and those products that appear at the other end of the tail. Here's a great example of the long tail in action (again from the Wired article):
"To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service (owned by RealNetworks) that currently offers more than 735,000 tracks.
Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for thetop tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the mount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero - either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store.
The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country."
Dan Farber, writing about PC Forum - PC Forum buzzword alert: Long tail and Ecosystem - goes as far as to say:
"The longtail captures a key phenomenon enabled by the Internet that is
the equivalent to the impact of the transportation system in the
mid-20th century. The ability to expose and access all forms of data in
a friction-free, low-cost manner via the Internet permanently alters
hierarchies that ruled over the last millennium."
It still sounds like there's a place for the little man in online sales - now that can't be bad, can it?
Over the last couple of months the BBC has aired a TV series called the Dragon's Den, where would-be entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of 5 successful business people in the hope of getting some investment. One of the panelists was Rachel Elnaugh, a businesswoman who founded the successful company Red Letter Days 15 years ago and which is now a £25 million business.
Well, it seems that Red Letter Days is looking to recruit some Strategic Development Managers and is cleverly using Rachel Elnaugh's increased media profile to advertise these positions. Here is a taste of the adverts that were placed in last week's Guardian:
If you've been lured into the Dragon's Den, BBC2's new 'business start
up' show, you'll have seen me warm to some great ideas - and also singe
a few misplaced egos. Now it's your opportunity to face me and pitch
your most valuable product - yourself.
This time my den is Red Letter Days, the company I founded, which is
now a £25 million business and the UK's leading 'experience' brand.
This fun advert ends with the invitation:
So if you've got a burning ambition and think you can charm a dragon, I want to hear from you.
If you'd like to enter the Dragon's Den, go visit the Guardian website (before 18th February).
How often have you gone to a website, been invited to sign up and then found that you would have to pay subscription? Having been directed to the AdAge website from a business blog, it was refreshing to see straight away that subscription was free (though for premium articles you do have to pay).
Next week the Technology for Marketing Conference will be held in London's Olympia on the 8th and 9th (February). They bill themselves as:
UK's premier event dedicated to helping marketing, customer service and sales professionals implement technology solutions to optimise their marketing strategies and campaigns.
There looks like there will be quite a few Internet Marketing exhibitors there - Google will be holding its 'Google University' to let novices, and more advanced users, into the secrets of Google AdWords. Cheetahmail, Webtrends and Vodfone will be participating in seminars in the Email, Mobile and Web Marketing seminar theatre, whilst there is a good cross-section of companies represented on the stands.
I just came across a neat new tool, called Ta-da Lists, which allows you to make lists of things you need to do, such as Bills to Pay, Things to do for the Holidays, Search Engines to Submit to, Blog Articles to Write, Directories to Link to, etc. To-Do lists are one of the suite of elements that belong to Basecamp, the brilliant project management tool created by the same team. The cost of Ta-da Lists is free and is well worth trying out - it even lets you share your lists with others and even to subscribe to your lists in RSS!
Ta-da Lists - Keeping is simple. (Marketing Playbook)
For another year running Marketing Sherpa has compiled a list of real-life marketing stories in a FREE downloadble PDF, called Marketing Wisdom 2005. As the marketing blurb says, "[Marketing Wisdom 2005] Includes 105 real-life marketing lessons learned from MarketingSherpa readers including the folks at Timberland, Pacific Shaving, and ING Direct:
- Email tests that worked
- Search marketing tactics
- Site design to raise conversions
- Direct mail, radio, & telemarketing stories"
Haven't read it yet but if it's like last year's, it will make very good reading.