Friday, October 07, 2005

Live from Hamburg at the 1. International Word-of-Mouth Marketing Conference

Today is Day 2 of the 1. International Word-of-Mouth Marketing conference in Hamburg, Germany. The conference is being held at the swanky Dorint Sofitel Hotel.

My goal is to provide live updates throughout the day and also a review of Day 1 highlights.

The conference is being sponsored by the Brand Sciences Institute as well as WOMMA and Contagious.

The agenda for Day 1 included an introduction to WOM, measurement, WOM and advertising and "mass" media, podcasting, and blogs.

I spoke on Day 1 in the first slot after a presentation by Forrester research on integrating WOM marketing in the mdia mix. The highlight of their presentation was how WOM needs to be integrated through the consumer buying cycle.

The Forrester presentation was followed by Lois Kelly from Foghound, a strategic marketing consultancy firm. Lois expanded the notion of WOM beyond products and services arguing that we live in a "talk world" where companies need to learn how to make their brand conversations real and relevant, where people will say "That's interesting, tell me more..." She provided some helpful strategies to help companies build these "conversation themes".

My presentation built off of my research on the "conversational geography of WOM". My three take-away points were how companies need to understand the conversational and relational contexts of WOM (and I provided some tools on how to do this), how to incorporate WOM into the marketing mix in order to leverage its credibility effect, and how companies can become participants in consumer-to-consumer conversations rather than unwelcome guests. I shared findings from my latest research with BzzAgent and discussed the Volkswagen Alpha Drivers campaign as a case study.

In my next post I'll talk about the presentation from Day 1 that stole the show and had everyone talking...