September, 29

Word of Mouth

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When one plays on my side of the media game, one ends up on a lot of e-mail lists. Inasmuch as I’m often surprised to which lists my address has been sold, I’m sure the purchasers of my address are just as often surprised that I receive their cloying missives – who would surely rather I didn’t. Particularly my enemies – including Mick Robbins of VinSpinPR. Considering the tawdry attempt at solicitation pasted below, I’m sure Robbins would have remained mum had he known that I would print it here.  It’s a primer on word-of-mouth marketing so lacking, that mere comment risks improving it – and that’s just not journalism, mates.
• • •
From the desk of Mick Robbins:

Tourist towns, such as ours, function much like airports – people from the world over momentarily converge, then dissipate, only to be replaced by an endless stream of other momentary convergences of humanity. This everlasting flow of international traffic makes both locations ideal for releasing one’s idea-viruses, memes and sundry other buzz-marketing notions at a fraction of what it would cost to reach the same far-flung consumers with traditional marketing. With word-of-mouth marketing, the best kind there is, one need only speak very loudly whilst repeating one’s message. Over and over. Until the police come.
Spend half an hour pacing the sidewalk in front of, say, a popular boulangerie, and you will likely hear half-a-dozen accents from at least three continents. Keep in mind that these fine visitors have never seen you before and will likely never see you again. This means they are prime targets for your messaging magic because you want them to remember your words – not you. Remember, sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you. So, keep your sticks and stones out of it.

Now you’re ready for what I call the Three V’s of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Vacuum, Volume and Volatility. And Vision.

Vacuum: Three points – A) space is a vacuum and B) in space, no one can hear you scream. C) Thusly, stay away from vacuums if you want to be heard. Visit crowded locations around town to share/scream your message. Volume: If the crowds are loud, be louder. Conversely, if your voice isn’t strong on a particular day (due to, perhaps, a lingering paint-huffing habit like Neville Minor of Sonomaganda), consider visiting places that appreciate quieter pipes like the library, a church or “reading time” at the old folk’s home. They may not travel the world with your message, but some might soon be traveling to the great beyond – talk about “from your mouth to God’s ears.”

However, “volume” means more than how well one scores on a decibel-meter, it also refers to “quantity.” Notice how I say “quantity,” not “quality.” Any word-of-mouth campaign can achieve wonders when repeated ad infinitum. Consider a random phrase like “Mick Robbins is the world’s greatest public relationalist known to mankind. And Neville Minor is a paint-huffing putz.” Repeat that over and over out loud and in public, and you’re guaranteed to attract attention.

Volatility: And just as in public relations, where there is “no such thing as bad publicity,” in the word-of-mouth game there are no bad words, only bad listeners. Shake their ears to attention by capturing their other four senses. Make sure your audience can see you – you not only have to be loud, you have to look loud. Bright colors, bold prints, offensive T-shirt slogans or nudity are recommended…

• • •

And so on. Because this is a community newspaper, I’ve redacted Robbins’ recommendations for the remaining senses of smell, touch and taste, but suffice it to say, he is most lacking in the last one.

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