Can you fake “word of mouth”? Introducing CON-versational marketing: I’m scratching my head on this item on the Consumerist weblog. Maybe some of you “word-of-mouth-marketing” folks can explain what wire got crossed at the graphics chip manufacturer Nvidia that would cause someone there to consider hiring an agency to provide faux-customers to post messages on forums. (The company providing the faux-customers calls that kind of activity: “Message board monitoring and response” and “Strategic seeding viral assets to ensure they are spread far and wide.”)
I think it’s okay to hire consultants and agencies (heck, or Hammock Publishing) to assist in the development and implementation of corporate or institutional conversational marketing and media strategies. But “transparency” and “authenticity” are the foundations of the success of such programs. You’d be much better off staying out of the conversation than trying to hire people to pretend to be your customers. That’s like, what? Hiring a date? We know what that’s called.
Play along at home: To measure how effective the agency involved is in word of mouth marketing, monitor their response to the conversation taking place about this topic.
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