Looking Down in the Mouth

This is not about being sad. This is actually one of the happiest posts I've ever written. That's because it's about, as the old hymn says, "I was blind but now I see".


As marketers we are almost always slightly blind. Magazine publishers have long touted their "pass along" readership, but the data behind the tout is incredibly imprecise.

And we all know the 'water cooler value' of Super Bowl commercials, but, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever figured out how to measure that. Internet marketers have had to make do with 'likes' and forwards/reposts/re-tweets. But the 'likes' are generally meaningless and the reposts/re-tweets honestly just don't go nearly far enough. This is why there is even a Word-Of-Mouth Association of marketers interested in trying to measure and master this incredibly powerful aspect of marketing. We all know that word of mouth is really, really important and valuable. It's why Amazon and every other eCommerce player literally begs for reviews and comments. They know that a real person's opinion, even an unknown real person, is worth far, far more than any ad.


A company I'm working with, Hyperactivate, has really solved this problem. They have learned how to take virtually any 'clickable' action and follow it. Example: I see something and pass it on to my friends/fans/followers. Some of them, appreciating my knowledge and expertise, take my post/tweet/forward and send it on to their friends/fans/followers. Some of those folks, similarly appreciating the insight from someone they trust and respect then send it on. Etcetera, etcetera. For as long as the chain continues it can be tracked. People the marketer never even knew existed, people who didn't see the original promotion/ad/article, are using their personal megaphone to tell the story with their own credibility to their own networks. Digital word-of-mouth, as it were. There's a verifiable 'chain of custody' so if a friend of a friend's friend is so taken by whatever they received that they buy or visit or test drive or ask for and redeem a coupon (or any other clickable action) we can actually trace it all the way back to my original post or tweet or forward. Wow!


Whether you call them ambassadors or advocates or any other piece of jargon, the simple fact is that now, for the very first time, we can quantify their actual impact and their actual ROI. I guess looking down in the (word of) mouth can be an incredibly joyous thing to do.