I read an interesting post by Tomi T Ahonen on his Communities Dominate Brands blog.
Tomi tells the story of how Teri Hatcher (of Desperate Housewives fame) was sitting far from President Bush at a Correspondents Dinner. Teri, who knows President Bush Snr (who was not at the dinner), silently send him an SMS from her mobile phone. Thirty minutes later, some Secret Service men came over and informed Teri that President Bush would like to meet her. Apparently, President Bush Snr has phoned his son and asked him to be nice to Teri.
What a great story. It shows the power of influencers in social networks (President Bush Snr). And it shows how powerful the mobile phone is as a social tool. But it also shows how important it is to prepare the ground before influence can be used in social networks (Teri already knew President Bush Snr well enough to SMS him).
Duncan Watts, formerly Professor of Sociology at Columbia University but now at Yahoo, describes how important it is to prepare the ground for viral marketing in a recent paper on Viral Marketing for the Real World. The majority of viral marketing simply doesn’t work; the message doesn’t get transmitted onwards by receivers enough to reach a tipping point and to explode on the scene. And because of the dynamics of transmission, it is virtually impossible to say before hand, which viral marketing campaigns will be hits and which will be duds. The paper points out that companies using viral marketing greatly benefit from integrating it with traditional marketing methods. Traditional marketing greatly increases the susceptibility of the audience to the viral marketing message and makes it more likely to be transmitted onwards to others. By giving the audience simple tools to transmit the message, they can not only increase transmission but can also follow the message as it is transmitted from one person to another. Watts call this ‘Big Seed Marketing’.
What do you think? Do you have friends in high places to get your message across? Or must you rely upon modern marketing methods?
Post a comment and get the conversation going.