The v4 Principle – ‘All Impressions are not Created Equal’

by Stan Phelps

in v4 principle

The Power of WOM

One of the frustrations I have with measurement of marketing is that it is fundamentally flawed.  It assumes that all impressions are created equal.  There is no weight given to context and / or the delivery mechanism.

Let’s have a look at advertising, sponsorship, pr and word of mouth:

Advertising is a one way dialogue that is inherently biased.  Like some company or brand is going to show you their warts . . . NOT.  Ads are vested in trying to get your attention.  They sell you blue sky by putting the product in the best light.  Let’s call the impressions via advertising V1.

Sponsorship plays on the interests of the consumer.  The company or brand aligns themselves with a second party.  They are still vying for your attention, but now they are engaging you at a point of passion. Sponsorship works on the idea of affinity or attribution.  Let’s call the impressions via sponsorship V2.

PR is the proactive process of managing the flow of information between the brand or company and the public.   It allows for exposure to the target audience via third party sources.  Those sources are predominantly mainstream media.  This third party authentication provides credibility to the message.  The impressions gained at no cost through PR are much more valuable than those obtained by paid advertising.  Let’s call those PR impressions V3.

WOM or Word of Mouth is the act of consumers providing information to other consumers.  It is what I referred to as the V4 or ‘vouch for’ principle.  V4 means that the consumer is standing up for the product and giving personal assurances to its value.  It’s been around for thousands of years and remains one of the most powerful forms of promotion.  It’s a friend recommending a new restaurant or the latest movie.  New social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have elevated WOM to a new level.  Call it WOM 2.0 or WOM on steroids.  It reminds me of the old Breck shampoo commercial where they start to split the screen by saying, ‘She tells two people, then they tell two people and then they tell two people . . .’ and soon the screen has hundreds of people on it. That’s the magic of WOM.

Bottom line and marketing takeaway: “Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most effective forms of promotion”

You need to figure a way to get people to talk about and recommend your product.  That’s where the ‘purple goldfish’ comes in handy.  It’s the small, unique and unexpected touch that provides fuel to the ‘word of mouth’ fire.

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish,  is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth?  Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

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