This summary of an article from the December issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (good luck finding the issue online because I couldnâ€™t) says that common word-of-mouth advertising by regular folks is more powerful than â€œkey influencers.â€ Which is to say that sucking up to A-list bloggers may not be all that itâ€™s cracked up to be. It seems like itâ€™s a bad day for celebrity endorsements.
James Coyle, assistant professor of marketing at Miami Universityâ€™s Farmer School of Business, Elizabeth Lightfoot of CNET Networks, and Ted Smith and Amy Scott of MedTrackAlert conducted the study by surveying website visitors, conducting in-depth reviews, and analyzing website usage patterns. Said Coyle:
â€œWe find that trying to track down key influencers, people who have extremely large social networks, is typically unnecessary and, more importantly, can actually limit a campaign or advertisementâ€™s viral potential. Instead, marketers need to realize that the majority of their audience, not just the well-connected few, is eager and willing to pass along well-designed and relevant messages.â€
I agree. I think that most key influencers are pompous, insecure jerks who take themselves way too seriously. And I say this knowing that you can rightfully accuse me of being one of them. The marketing lesson is this: Create something great, sow fields (not window boxes), â€œlet a hundred flowers blossom,â€ and pray that â€œregular folksâ€ will spread the word.
Flickr Image By Ingrid!