Viral efforts need to include the real world.

Most people use word of mouth, either giving or receiving advice about brands. But influencers, who have sway over others and often engage with multiple audiences, are especially attractive to marketers who want to spread brand news quickly.

I'm going to start something new with this column today.

When it comes to social media, forget the concept of advertising to a captive audience and instead focus on creating branded content that people want to see and would choose to share with others: brand advertising as social media content.

The way communicators dispense information is out of sync with the way consumers use media, according to Media, Myths & Realities, a comprehensive survey of media usage among consumers and communications professionals conducted by global public relations firm Ketchum and the University of Southern California Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center.

"What do YOU think?"

Word of mouth is not limited to cutting-edge influential consumers. The majority of consumers give and get perspective on purchases, according to Forrester Research's "NACTAS Benchmark Survey."

Six in 10 US consumers surveyed said they shared product advice with family and friends.

IMMI research shows the importance of gathering and interpreting data from multiple platforms to get an accurate read on advertising reach. Looking at radio or television in isolation does not give advertisers a true sense of their campaign’s performance.

The recent flurry of announcements touting new marketer/agency integration models suggest that more marketers, holding companies and their agencies are convinced that re-bundling both above- and below-the-line services under forced integration and collaboration will actually result in more holist

Well…

Have you ever wanted to get inside another marketer’s head? That is exactly what researchers from Anderson Analytics set out to do.

The Marketing Executives Networking Group, an almost 1700 member organization of leading marketers who are at a VP-level or above in their organizations, issued the results of its first annual survey of Top Marketing Trends for 2008. The survey of MENG members, conducted by Anderson Analytics, focused on top marketing concepts, buzz words, global areas of opportunity, targeted customer demographics, as well as the books that marketers look to for inspiration and growth opportunity.

The growth of the Hispanic population in the United States is not only an opportunity for businesses and marketers alike, but it puts Hispanics in the advantageous position of wielding influence in the U.S. more so than ever before.

Virtual shelves, real customers.

After decades of relying on television and print advertising, US consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers are finally moving a larger proportion of their marketing budgets online.

When US consumers say they are interested in a company, more than one-half of them are open to getting an interactive follow-up such as a personalized or generic e-mail, or text message, according to Vertis' "2007 Customer Focus Tech Savvy" study.

Spending on word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing jumped 35.9% in 2006 to $981.0 million and is expected to top $1 billion in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing alternative media segments.

Web 2.0 is emphatically here to stay. Social media is a powerful new force. And content owners must come to terms with the implications. Where will revenue growth come from and should organizations embrace online video as an opportunity—or fear it as a threat?

As an advertiser of digital media, don't you want your ads to have the right messages at the right time in the right places? It's a fundamental media objective. Well, currently the only thing we have much control over is creating the right message. I'd add the right format to that.

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