Thursday, June 6, 2013

Have You Heard About the New iPhone6

Welcome back to my blog. This week I am going to talk about the most effective way of marketing. The funny thing is that we all do it every day without realizing it. For example, so you are out with some friends one night having a great time. One friend looks at the group and states, “have you all heard about the new iPhone6?” The rest of the group is looking at each other with a dumbfounded expression implying they have never heard of the iPhone6. So the very knowledgeable friend starts to tell the rest of the group about this innovative phone. The friend is going on about all the features, screen size, and so on and so forth. Next thing you know, a few months have passed and all your friends, including you, are carrying around the new iPhone6. This type of marketing actually has a name. It is called the Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM). (Kozinets, 2010) WOMM is an extremely powerful and effective strategy to get consumers to buy a product. One of the best ways for companies to market products is to use social influence and let the consumers sell their products for them. Marketers need to use a strategy to target those that are quick to buy a product and then let the consumer sell the product. Once you have one of the early adopters on board, they will spread the word about how wonderful the product is and why others should buy it too. When you have consumers communicate to other consumers this is called “seeding,” and it is no different than the way you plant a seed to grow a tree.  For example, you plant a seed in the ground. You give the seed water and sunlight. You watch the seed take root and sprout up out of the ground. After some time, the tree has branches and eventually you will see leaves form. The same thing happens when consumers communicate to other consumers about a product. One person plants the seed of a good product in another person, then that person tells another person and so and so forth. Eventually, you have all of these people who have purchased the same item all because of someone planting a seed. The leaves on the tree represent all these people that were marketed by one seed. You could argue that the seed is the opinion leader. The internet, especially sites like Facebook and Twitter, are superb for spreading the seed. Once your friends read that you love a product, your friends are more likely to go out and purchase that same product. Social media sites increase the social influence and size of networks that marketers can target.  For instance, do you click on the like buttons when a franchise or product pops up on the right side of your screen on your Facebook page? Come on now, we all do! Do you know that is exactly how they get on your site? Then they are able to send you deals and coupons? Then your friends see it and click on it too; therefore, creating a network that makes it easier for companies to reach a larger audience.  Thus, creating what is called The Network Coproduction Model. This model allows a consumer to send messages to other consumers via the internet to be sent all over the world. The only problem with this is bad information about a company or product can spread just as quickly as good information can over the internet. Before the internet, people had to wait to hear about companies through traditional media platforms, but now information is right in front of us as long as we have an internet connection.  Say you are a blogger and you are on your site blogging away about how you bought a product that you are not happy with, well guess what, everyone on your blog is going to think twice before buying that product. They might even start to tell their friends not to purchase the product. Next thing you know, the organization that has created this product is going out of business. Ladies and gentleman, there goes the economy. I am being a little facetious of course, but you get the picture. Now what is the best way to inspire people to want to buy your product? Simon Sinek suggests that companies need to explain why they sell a product or why people should choose them. He states that people connect to organizations and products that they believe in. He explains this concept and calls it the Golden Circle. He explains that most companies, especially the ones that fail, start out first explaining what a company does or what a company sells to the public. Simon Sinek suggests that companies and opinion leaders should take a different approach by telling the public what the company believes in. People with the same beliefs of a company or product will be more willing to purchase products if the company’s belief system matches the consumer’s belief system. For example, that is exactly what Chick-Fil-A did when their president, Dan Cathy spoke out against same-sex marriage. (Solash, 2012) Chick-Fil-A restaurants are mostly located in the Bible belt states; therefore, Dan Cathy was not scared that he would lose customers. Instead, quite the opposite happened; people with the same beliefs as Chick-Fil-A continued to eat there and purchase their chicken sandwiches. Please note that I am not here to argue for or against gay marriage, this is simply a marketing point that I am trying to make. Many supporters of Chick-Fil-A gathered there on August 1, 2012 to eat, because they feel the same way about gay marriage. (Solash, 2012)Whether or not he did it intentionally or unintentionally, Dan Cathy used Simon Sinek’s theory on organizations that connect with people who believe the same as their organization will profit from that belief. Now that we have discussed the WOMM theory and Mr. Sinek’s Golden Circle, ask yourself, why do you buy the things you buy? Do you buy it because your friend told you it was the most amazing thing ever? Or do you buy a product because it fits into your belief system? I look forward to some feedback. Thank you for reading.

Kozinets, Robert V., et al. "Networked Narratives: Understanding Word-of-Mouth Marketing in
     Online Communities." Journal of Marketing 74 (2010): 71-89.

Okazaki, Shintaro. "Social Influence Model and Electronic Word of Mouth." International Journal
     of Advertising 28 3 (2009) 439-472.

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