Is buzz no more valuable than an ad?
What if the experts are wrong and ads are just as persuasive as buzz? This can't
be possible, can it? The experts have told us that there is a new breed of human
being out there who no longer wants to be marketed to. She pays no attention
to ads. She is immune to the "interruption model" and we need to get her
"permission" to market to her.
Not so fast, says David Michaelson Co., a New York-based company that
studies measurement of communications effectiveness,and has compared the
effect of publicity with traditional advertising in a controlled experiment. He
and a co-author presented research subjects with a faked ad for an invented
product, and a faked newspaper article about the same product. On a scale of 1
to 10, the article was a 10 "from the standpoint of a publicist's dream article,"
Dr. Michaelson says. Yet their study showed that the article was no more
effective than the ad in building brand awareness. Now here's something to
think about. I have no idea of the validity of this study. But if it's true that
people are not terribly moved by "buzz" in reputable media like newspapers,
how much power do you think buzz has in dopey social media like blogs, and
Twitter and Facebook?
Maybe buzz is exactly what it sounds like -- just a lot of mouths yapping.