Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What WOM is Wot?

Just finished up my sessions at WOMMA. They keep on attracting great, big crowds of qualified people. Congratulations to Andy and his staff for putting on another excellent event.

Now: what's up with the issue about online vs. offline WOM? As I mentioned before, Pete wrote about it in ClickZ, based on an article in Adage, which referenced a Keller Fay study, telling us that the "Real Action" for WOM is offline (link in the right sidebar).

What on earth does "real action" mean? Clearly the majority of WOM happens face to face. That's definitely clear. But why is there a growing split between the practioners of offline and online WOM? That seems totally counterproductive.

What we've got to come to is a notion that all pieces of the media equation are critical. In fact, I predict that we are going to very quickly move away from discussions about the particular channel, and even the particular form. Consumer Generated Media is important for us to understand and monitor. But, as marketers and not media watchers, we need to look at the end: what does CGM do?

That's the interesting answer. The notion that's going to have to come to the forefront is something along the lines of the Collective Narrative. That is, that the collective--consumers, creators, and commentators--will dynamically form up new stories about brands, which will both hold and drive value.

Online or off is a distracting conversation, especially as the two begin to entangle one another. Time to look toward to the goals of brand value creation, protection and conservation.
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Blogger Pete said...

Really wish I was there. In this case, it sounds like the action IS OFFLINE. :-)

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Douglas Walker said...

Hey Gary, great to see you again at the WOMMA event. You did a great session.

On the online/offline thing it is totally absurd to split the two. Online measurable activity has been the major source of data and analysis for WOM activities and has largely armed the entire WOM industy with some real data on how it all works. The reasons people talk about products, marketing or anything are the same in the online and offline world.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Trenn said...

The reason there's a growing split between those that practice online WOM and offline WOM is that the two groups develop their seperate practice methods and then try to promote them to the client arena as a whole. Suddenly they're competitors...and then they become provincial.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Gary Stein said...

That, Jonathan, is a great insight. Yup: if the companies not only grew up in one space (and therefore have a significant investment), they are going to protect their turf. The challenge to them, of course, is to figure out how to leverage their specialty to grow to the encompass the other side.

First company to do this, no matter what side they started on, wins.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous foto said...

This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want...HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

8:18 AM  

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