Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel is sponsored by Trackur.

How to Create Buzz with Word of Mouth Marketing

“There is only one thing worse than being talked about, that is not being talked about”
-Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I heard Andy Sernovitz speak about word of mouth marketing – one of the most imaginative ways to attract customers. Just like we want to be friends with and around people we like, we buy from companies we like.

How do you practice Word of Mouth Marketing? Give people a reason to talk about you and make it easy for them to talk about you. After all, good marketing is starting and continuing a conversation.

How many blogs does Google maintain about their products? Over 90! They keep pinging us with messages about updates, features, innovative ways to use their products, new products, and partnerships. The media and bloggers keep writing about them, even small things that would otherwise be boring – like that one more city has been added to Street View.

Does Apple Really Want the Crazed Few Defending its Reputation?

iStock_000000582779XSmallReading Tom Krazit’s excellent article on Apple’s hard core fans reminded me of my own recent experience. In my attempt to explain why I thought Apple could no longer rely on its evangelist users, I was attacked, mocked, and abused by the very same group I was discussing.

Krazit observed the same thing with one of his articles…

Nothing in the article suggested that Mac users are revolting against Leopard, or that serious Leopard glitches have knocked the Mac user base offline, or anything even close to that effect. The majority of the discussion in the Talkback section, however, descended into the usual Mac vs. PC flame war. In addition to attacking each other, several people took me to task, saying that since they had never had a problem with their Mac or with their Leopard installation, I was clearly manufacturing problems as part of a sinister plan to either attack the Mac and put Apple out of business at the bidding of Microsoft, or through some naked self-interest of both myself and CNET to generate page views.

Your Viral Marketing Message Dissected

Sometimes the turn of a phrase or even just the lack of a single word can be all the difference between delivering a powerful and highly proficient viral marketing message or missing the boat entirely. Gord Hotchkiss has recently posted an excellent breakdown of what turns a rumor or message into that successful viral entity all marketers hope for.

Gord begins with “Jumping The Weak Ties”. This is the concept of creating an idea compelling enough that it will have the ability to transcend a social group and leap out to other groups, creating the viral buzz. Gord also addresses “Moral Hazard” at the same time, which is the idea that even a compelling idea, when laden down with conditions, may fail to be able to break the barrier of the initial social group and ultimately fail. Gord does a nice job of covering historical research on these ideas as well as offering up some well thought out and useful examples.

Why a Lawyer’s Letter Rarely Helps a Reputation Management Crisis

When a company’s reputation comes under attack, it can be tempting to bring in the company attorney and fire off a "cease and desist" letter. Unless you’re responding to something that is clearly libelous, trying to cover up your mess by threatening the messenger usually backfires–in a big way.

Hercules Technology Growth Capital is learning that lesson the hard way after sending a c&d to The Funded–a site that lets companies anonymously share thoughts about VC firms. VentureBeat has a copy of the letter sent and TechDirt points out why Hercules’ effort will likely backfire.

Facebook Marketing Stunt Backfires

Molson brewing company has pulled a promotion on Facebook after complaints that they promote binge drinking. They ran a photo contest targeting 19-24 year old college students.

Called the The Molson Canadian Nation Campus Challenge the ad said, “Be the #1 party school in Canada” and says that the school with the most pictures uploaded would win a trip for five people to spend spring break in Cancun, Mexico.

The next line said: “Show everyone how you and your crew get the party started!” Then it listed the top 10 party schools.Universities and parents both contacted the company to complain. Xavier University administrator Joe MacDonald, who is the dean of students said: “This is not something that is welcome within our campus community.”

Five Ways Negative Reviews Help Your Online Reputation

Rejected It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you want to build a stellar reputation for your business, you should embrace negative reviews. Sure, the more positive reviews you have for your business, the better it looks, but there are some benefits to having some negative ones too.

Andrew Goodman, guest writing for HomeStars, hits the nail on the head:

I was recently a little disconcerted when I visited the American Apparel site, because of the presence of too many glowing, cheerleading reviews of its products. Some simply said "I haven’t tried this yet but I’ll be getting one really soon!" Poring over the various reviews, I actually felt like I’d be more likely to buy the product that had at least one negative or moderate review. Why? Because I wouldn’t be as likely to suspect that the reviews are fake.

Apple’s Social Media Hell – Why it Needs to Repent

iStock_000000582779XSmall At the recent BlogWorld Expo, I discussed two companies that "get" social media and one that doesn’t. The two that get it were Nike and Dell. Nike’s excellent community efforts–especially Nike+–and Dell’s efforts with forums and blogs are helping both companies join online conversations. Both companies are benefiting from either higher sales–40% of Nike+ users end up buying Nike shoes–and better stakeholder relations–Jeff Jarvis just recently wrote a glowing report on Dell for BusinessWeek.

Apple Doesn’t "Get" Social Media

So which company doesn’t get social media? That would be Apple. Apple doesn’t have any explicit efforts to engage its online stakeholders, doesn’t have a blog, and even tries to sue those bloggers that help build the passion for Apple’s products. If the company were Microsoft, it would have died a long time ago.