Word-of-mouthers: Advertising blows

The World of Mouth Marketing Association is hosting a conference in September titled “Word of Mouth vs. Advertising,” and has launched a blog to drum up publicity for it. Early posters to the blog have taken the group’s pugilistic ethos to heart. Zane Safrit, CEO of an online conference-calling startup, jauntily declares, “I think advertising’s a near complete waste of time except for entertainment,” and advises companies to just create good products and services that people like. A long post by George Silverman, a psychologist turned marketing consultant, offers a blistering critique of what he calls “saturation advertising.” His point? Traditional advertising kills WOM, since it makes everyone aware of a product, and people only tell other people about things they think they don’t know about. “It may be the case,” Silverman says, “that if less advertising were done, more and better WOM campaigns could do much better.” As for the agencies behind these nefarious deeds, Ian McGee, CEO of WOM firm Vocanic, has this to say: “My experience [is] the traditional agency guys are hopelessly routed [sic] in interruption advertising—a model that is going the way of the dinosaur. And most are terrified of data, and hate the idea of creating a real dialogue with the customer.” Visit the blog for plenty more non-decaf fare.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey