Can we just shut up about word-of-mouth?

Word-of-mouth marketing just won’t pipe down today. WOM shop BzzAgent is offering a money-back guarantee (based on its own measurement criteria, of course) that one of its campaigns will outperform a competing effort using other media. There’s a $300,000 minimum for both the WOM and competing campaigns. I find that price tag odd, given that BzzAgent itself claims its yakkers’ conversations are worth about 50 cents apiece. Separately, Augustine Fou of MRM dismisses the whole phenomenon in an Adweek guest column, claiming: “Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t something you can, should or need to do.” Strong words, indeed. You know, people are going to tire of all this brand-building chatter and the buzz agencies will have to try something new. My suggestion: the Reverse Psychology Campaign. You sidle up to someone and say: “Breakfast at Denny’s? That’s really not your kind of thing, is it? I just can’t see you eating there.” Before you know it, McD’s would be kissing its omlette-and-hash-browns market share goodbye.

—Posted by David Gianatasio