Wednesday, December 13, 2006 tags 12.13.06

Kari Chisholm over at Politics and Technology cites Guy Kawasaki's recent interview with Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell over at Church of the Customer. (Huba and McConnell are promoting their new book, Creating Customer Evangelists.)

While Kawasaki, Huba and McConnell don't make the connection (in the interview), Chisholm points out the relevance of the description of the motivation and identification of "citizen marketers" (customer evangelists) to politics.

I moderated a panel today -- with Michael Silberman from EchoDitto and Hal Malchow from MSHC Partners -- on lessons learned from nonprofits and politics (with a little more politics than nonprofits) at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference.

My perspective is that political campaigns have relied on word of mouth for a long time now for three distinct reasons:

  1. it's cost effective,
  2. personal contact is the most effective way to compel people to take action, and
  3. campaign volunteers are an enthusiastic group of folks that campaigns can leverage to get the word out on their behalf.
There are also three reasons why word of mouth has become that much more integral to political campaigns:
  1. there is a decrease in trust in traditional media as a source of political information (both sides of the ideological spectrum view the mainstream media as being biased, while claiming to be objective),
  2. the growth of social media has provided the technology to facilitate word of mouth more easily, and
  3. social media has also created a level of expectation among consumers/constituents that they should have an active and engaged role with their brands -- whether it's a new soft drink or a candidate for President of the United States.
Some other links, worthy of being tagged . . .
  • Fussy turned down Babble's offer to join them as a writer. It's yet another parenting site, this one focusing on "the new urban parent", aka hipsters with strollers who live in Park Slope.
  • Chris Anderson acknowledges that things are changing for media properties like Wired and ponders what they could do to respond and to become "radically transparent": open up the doors to let the reader in on the process, democratize content to give equal weight to what the reader says (grumblers in the newsroom, I sincerely feel for you). It's exciting stuff, and Anderson believes that the upsides outweigh the downsides, but I come from the school of thought that says that some people actually know more than I do about certain things and I value their opinion and expertise. It's not quite the same as going to a doctor because that doctor went to medical school and you didn't, nor did the guy who fixes your car (and so you wouldn't ask him to check out an ache you have in your shoulder). But there are people who I like to read and I like to read them because they have invested time and energy into learning their topic and because they have a way with words.

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