Where advertisers miss the point – word of mouth is NOT an advertising platform

This article on the website MediaPost.com reports the unsurprising (at least to anyone who is not in advertising) common-sense that, “seventy-eight percent of consumers say they trust other consumers’ recommendations over all advertising/marketing avenues.” In reality, if the question were posed like this: “Who do you believe more, a friend or an ad?” the survey would reveal that 100% of people trust other people more than ads. (The word consumer is a term only marketers use to describe human beings.)

But that’s not my point.

My point is related to the headline of the story: “Nielsen: Word-of-Mouth Most Valuable Ad Platform.” My point is this: “Word-of-mouth” — is NOT an advertising platform.

It’s a long-term commitment to engaging with, collaborating with and joining in conversations with human beings.

Unlike advertising, it can’t be constrained to a single page or spread or time-slot or three-week “buy.”

Anything that works 78% (or 100%) of the time is never that easy.