Friday, October 07, 2005

Why Aren't There Many German Companies at the First International WOM Marketing Conference in Hamburg?

There are just a handful of German companies, or companies who have offices in Germany, here at this first event in their own backyard (there are a couple from the beverage industry and shipping services). I've asked around about this and here is what I learned...

Apparently some companies experimented with viral and buzz marketing during the internet boom, got burned, and then soured to the idea. These firms also seem to equate stimulating buzz as the only form of WOM (as distinct from a philosophy of consumer generation, engagement, and involvement with an associated set of strategies and tools to manage and measure WOM).

Rather than being interested in WOM it seems that some German companies may have been more interested in brand extension and management (for example, when a brand has a new model and wanting to make sure consumers see it as an innovation rather than just a copy of the old model).

I don't have much more detail about what the bad experiences were in earlier years, or what German companies were invited and didn't come. And of course there could be a bunch of other reasons, but in the end, it seems like a missed opportunity.

Addendum (14:30 Hamburg time): Others reasons might include that the companies are just used to what they're doing (for example, buying media for a 30-second TV spot) and the situation isn't perceived as bad enough to think in new, innovative ways.