Everyone is talking about word of mouse but . . .
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Everyone is talking about word of mouse but . . .

Everyone is talking about word of mouse but . . .

By John Jantsch

. . . few are actually doing much about it.

Mark Jarvis Dell CMOWord of mouth marketing and its online namesake – “word of mouse” (I stole that from Mark Jarvis, CMO of Dell, but I don’t know where he stole it from.) is all the rage in big company marketing departments and the corner table staff meeting at Starbuck’s alike.

And yet, I recently read that less than 5% of the Fortune 500 companies employ a blog or similar online new media tool and only 3% of the Inc 500. So, where’s the disconnect.

I sat down with Mark Jarvis, Dell’s CMO, and discussed online marketing, new media and community building in marketing as a whole and at Dell for a special “field version” of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

Jarvis talked about a “Generation Gap” that is epidemic in most large companies and the leading cause of a real lack of understanding and employing word of mouth at companies large and small.

See, my daughters – heading squarely into the prime marketing demographic – wouldn’t know what to do with a Yellow Pages directory if you handed one to them, don’t watch much TV (never watch network TV), and don’t really listen to radio – it’s more like they snack on it for about 25 seconds a song.

So what Jarvis is talking about and what Dell in my opinion is moving towards is not some trendy new cutting edge way of marketing it’s the future, it’s here now and it’s a game of survival. If you don’t figure this out, if you don’t tap the power of the Internet in smart, relevant, engaging and community building ways you will become last year’s phone book.

Dell is making the right noise, but noise only goes so far – during the conference where I met up with Jarvis an audience participant asked if this new way of marketing was how Dell intended to market away some of its lingering customer service issues and to that Jarvis replied, “You don’t market your way out of customer service issues, you fix the issues.” We shall see.

Check out SB360, Idea Storm and Studio Dell – they keep getting better. (Disclaimer, I contribute some content to each, although I’m not sure that has anything to do with them getting better.)

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