It’s not every day you get asked to interview for a blog based in Bulgaria. So when Maria Sokolova asked me some questions for the Rich&Forts blog, I definitely agreed. Afterall, we’re living in a Global Neighborhood.
1. Nowadays a new (and old in the same time) term has appeared – c2c (consumer-to consumer). What is the importance of c2c marketing and how marketers should deal with?
My big issue with the term “C2C” marketing is that it assumes consumers make a conscious decision to market products. That’s not necessarily what’s happening, although affiliate programs and eBay are certainly examples of true C2C.
When Word of Mouth (WOM) referrals occur it’s because a customer believes in a product. The brand promise of marketing has been matched by the actual user experience. Thus, they are happy to confirm the marketing and lend their credibility to the product/service/solution. This is third party credibility, a result of good public relations using social media tools, not a conscious paid-for-marketing action.
Word of mouth cannot be paid for so easily. It can be inspired, but products and services must also be inspiring. Marketing can only accelerate the consumer’s excitement for a product they would generally like anyway. At the same time marketing and WOM can also accelerate a bad product’s failure.
3. Is it enough to have a positive WOM (word of mouth) to expect the sales raise? Why?
Not necessarily. It gets back to the intent of the social media program. There are many possible outcomes, including better brand perception (GM and Dell), brand awareness (Google’s OpenSocial), political action (green programs) and, of course, sales.
If the outcome is sales, then the program must be engineered to generate sales. Consider the previous examples. WOMM used to generate excitement about vintage clothes or the Southwest experience. But the marketers involved assume that some participants would want more, so they made intelligent calls-to-action as part of their program.
Now if a program is engineered to build excitement with an obvious call to action, and nothing happens than there are several issues that could be in play. The most obvious is the company or organization placed too much emphasis on the sale and too little on creating value for the community through the social media or WOM effort. In the end, creating value drives consumer interest in WOM campaigns and this can never be supplanted by the actual desired outcome.
You can read the entire interview on the Rich&Forts blog.