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Which clippings match 'Word-of-mouth' keyword pg.1 of 1
23 OCTOBER 2012

Small business marketing: tweeting globally, accessed locally

"SAN FRANCISCO – Three weeks after Curtis Kimball opened his crème brûlée cart in San Francisco, he noticed a stranger among the friends in line for his desserts. How had the man discovered the cart? He had read about it on Twitter.

For Mr. Kimball, who conceded that he 'hadn't really understood the purpose of Twitter,' the beauty of digital word–of–mouth marketing was immediately clear. He signed up for an account and has more than 5,400 followers who wait for him to post the current location of his itinerant cart and list the flavors of the day, like lavender and orange creamsicle.

'I would love to say that I just had a really good idea and strategy, but Twitter has been pretty essential to my success,' he said. He has quit his day job as a carpenter to keep up with the demand.

Much has been made of how big companies like Dell, Starbucks and Comcast use Twitter to promote their products and answer customers' questions. But today, small businesses outnumber the big ones on the free microblogging service, and in many ways, Twitter is an even more useful tool for them."

(Claire Cain Miller, 22 July 2009, New York Times)



ad budget • advertising and marketing • advertising strategy • being discovered • big companies • cart • Coca-Cola • Comcast • creme brulee cart • current location • Curtis Kimball • customers • Dell • desserts • digital word-of-mouth marketing • e-commerce business • fresh • itinerant cart • little-bitty store • little-bitty town • local businesslocal businesseslocalisationMcDonaldsmicroblogging • mom-and-pop shops • multiplatform marketers • New York Times • promote products • San Franciscoshopping behavioursmall businesssmall businesses • small-business owners • social mediaStarbucks • supersmall businesses • sushi restaurant • tactical engagementTweetDeckTwitter • Twitter followers • Twitter localisation • Umi (restaurant) • word of mouth • word-of-mouth • word-of-mouth promotion


Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2008

Viral marketing is much easier to tell stories about than to implement

"Viral marketing has generated a lot of excitement in recent years, in part because it seems like the ultimate free lunch: Pick some small number of people to 'seed' your idea, product, or message; get it to 'go viral'; and then watch while it spreads relentlessly to reach millions, all on a shoestring marketing budget.

Adding to this intuitive appeal, viral ideas, products and media also make compelling stories. 'Flash mobs', started by Bill Wasik as something between a social experiment and an art project, became popular in New York City in the summer of 2003, and then spread around the world as imitators as far afield as Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia copied Wasik's idea. Amusing videos like the 'Star Wars Kid', and entertaining or controversial websites like Jib Jab's 2004 election spoof and '' also started from small initial groups of people and ultimately attracted millions of unique visitors, often generating additional exposure from an interested mass media. And viral email forwards, like one initiated by a customer who ordered Nike shoes customized with the word 'Sweatshop', or another describing an intimate exchange between a London lawyer and his onetime girlfriend, made news headlines and generated considerably notoriety for its authors, after reaching a global audience of millions via word–of–mouth networks.

Viral marketing, however, is much easier to tell stories about than to implement. For every high profile example of a viral product, there are many more unsuccessful attempts that one never hears about. Moreover, predicting which of these attempts will succeed and which will not is extremely hard, if not impossible–even for experienced practitioners. After the fact, it is usually possible to understand what was entertaining, titillating, or otherwise intriguing about a given viral entity; but it is rarely obvious in advance. For example, in a recent 'contagious media' contest conducted by the media art nonprofit, a roomful of subject matter experts failed to predict which of 60 submitted websites would generate the most page views. Even creators of successful viral projects are rarely able to repeat their success with subsequent projects. Indeed, looking across a wide range both of successful and also unsuccessful attempts over the past several years, there is little in the way of attributes to which one might ascribe consistently viral properties. As a result, is extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible to consistently create media that will spread virally from a small seed to millions of people.

Thus as appealing as the viral model of marketing seems in theory, its practical implementation is greatly complicated by its low success rate–a problem that is exacerbated by the constraints imposed by the commercial, political, or social agendas inherent to marketing campaigns. One may need to design and conduct dozens or even hundreds of such campaigns before one of them succeeds; and even if a campaign is successful at spreading it still might not propagating the desired message of the advertiser."
(Duncan J. Watts, Jonah Peretti, and Michael Frumin)


ig seed • Collective Dynamics Group • contagious media • exposureflash mobs • Frumin • go viral • mass mediamedia artNike • Peretti • popularityseed • Star Wars Kid • viral • viral email forwards • viral marketing • Wasik • Watts • word-of-mouseword-of-mouth


Simon Perkins

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