Long ago I used to enjoy getting the Publisher’s Clearinghouse mass mailing promising that Ed McMahon would show up to give my parents a check for $1,000,000. As a result though, I’d find myself looking through a ton of stamps for various magazines they were hoping my household would purchase.
Fast forward a few years and soon mass mailings were replaced by online banners and pop-ups as well as email marketing campaigns. These methods of marketing were often ignored by individuals as much as billboards on freeways are ignored. With email, the junk category and spam filtering technologies often blocked most of the unsolicited noise from the web.
However, now we are in a new age of social media where anything can be shared, liked, retweeted and spread to our friends and other trusted contacts. Enter the new age of word of mouth.
How were we so easily convinced to be participants in contributing to advertising for an organization without any guarantee of payment? Much like the days of Publisher’s Clearinghouse, it is for a chance to win or for a sense of status. The winnings don’t even need to be large. Still, the individual consumer becomes the catalyst for mass marketing campaigns.
One example for an excellent cause, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is a shining example of how big an impact social marketing can have on an organization. Recent reports have ALS raising over $94 million in a single month in 2014 when a year ago they raised less than $3 million.
It appears that internet users will be more likely to buy or contribute when their friends and peers are doing so. Word of mouth is alive and well. The internet marketing age is reborn with social as now companies have a voice and that voice is yours.