Once there was Word of Mouth Marketing…

October 13, 2007

WOMMA LOGOWow. I didn’t know there was a Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) as well. How much more specialized is communication gonna get. What could be more micro/basic than that.

Of one of Micro-Marketing concepts, WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing) is considered to be the most influential, result promising and targetted practices for marketing of products or promotion of public opinion (Public Relations). The P2P marketing model draws its strength from the “friendly & trusty” relationship that we have with our peers as in family, friends, colleagues and society.

Public Relations especially can make use of this channel for targetted, behaviorally influencing and meaurable communications.

However thinking of marketing practices at such a micro level makes one think of other possibilities. This has to do directly with the capacity of the medium, in this case humans, for delivering messages through different means or in another manifestation. Thinking on these lines I have come up with the following P2P micro-marketing titles with their brief descriptions:

1. Facial Expressions based Experience Transfer (FEET)Marketing:

Retail store will try to control facial expressions on their customers so that other customers, new customers, passersby (in many cases of the glass cases) will only pick positive message of the facial expressions and encouraged to feel the same experience as the ones inside the retail shop.

2. Tone of Voice Marketing:

Okay how does one carry the tone of voice of a peer. Perhaps the delivery aspect if not much of the tone. Like there is this friend of mind that greets everyone in a very jolly/hearty/generous fashion. I have, for one, picked that from him and try to practice the same style in my greetings.

So a firm can perhaps introduce/re-explore/amplify a certain aspect of social pleasantries, give it a distinct touch and circulate/popularize it through its communication over the media. For retails it could be a certain style in which the waiters interact with the customers.

3. Body Language Marketing:

This is about the difference you feel in carrying your body in all its glory when you wear a designer label brand. No designed labels are not about being expensive, they are about enabling your body to feel comfortable and more confident. People who wear labels have an almost natural tendency to act more like themselves, feel happy and show confidence.

This is communication enough to influence their peers and social circles to think about the lifestyles of these icons. With that comes inquiries into what label one wears, where one usually goes to shop and how frequently is the wardrobe updated.

Examples of this are usually in the fashion magazines in which certain suiting brands have a very distinct style of model posing, facial expressions and attitude. Or look at TV commercials of beverages, fashion labels, music labels that promote certain body movements that become associated with their brand identity.

Rexona FUNK MERexona First Day HighRexonaFirstDayHigh

Rexona’s “First Day Funk” in Phillipines was a brand activation focused at school going kids to use Rexona deodorants. To deliver the key attributes of confidence, free body movement and group mingling/dancing without fear of bad odor, Rexona actually developed a dance sequence that eventually became enormously popular and even won the best dance sequence award at the MTV Phillipines awards!!! The dance sequence was hugely popular amongst the teens and could be seen at night clubs, parties, school grounds, dance competitions etc.

Such is the power of each communication medium that the human body can emulate.


Impulse Products & Marketing: The What, How and Why of Losing Control!

June 9, 2007

Disclosure: As a matter of record this post was originally published at Green & White by the same author at integrate.

What are they and how do they sell

Impulse Products category is focused at stimulating the human sense/need of self-indulgence and thus generating a desired action as a result of matching the product with the hedonist need. Such purchase “convulsions” have very little to do with any mental or rationalized decision making process.Chocolate Image

Such impulse products are designed to satisfy and over-whelm the “bodily senses” of taste, smell, sound, sight & feel.


1. Taste: Chocolate, all confectionary items, beverages (Placed on cash counter)

2. Smell: Perfumes (Displayed right behind the cash counter)

3. Sound: Music, seductive human voices (Club music)

4. Sight: Decorative items, seductive images (An inviting female on the cover of a magazine)

5. Feel: Super luxury clothing, experiences like hotel suites, massage etc.

Effects of Impulse Marketing on the consumer

The impulse products thus thrive on “defeating” the mental process of “need rationalization”. The hedonistic senses over-whelm the thought process and take over the bodily actions; the results.

Impulse products thus must have a strict “Code of Ethics” regulated by a state run agency. Consumer Protection bodies as well as the civil society itself must demand controlled communication to safeguard the youth against turning into helpless, pathetic, mentally weak, marketing controlled zombies.

Where such products wreak havoc on an individual’s self-control and rational decision making it has monetary and social impacts aswell. Consumers are pushed into spending everytime they enter a store ranging anywhere between PKR. 5-50. The social impacts range from class sensitivity to open expressions of hate/racism/demeaning others.

Trend in Impulse Marketing

The trends are alarming. Atleast 20% of the advertising today is impulse products. Most horrifyingly targeted at the kids and youth segment. The success in selling numbers has encouraged import of the “Impulse Factor” (read the popularly quoted “X Factor”) into not-by-product-design discreet product range. This is visible in the communication in the shape of inviting females, unrealistic lifestyle impacts etc.


A lot of it has to do with activism in Consumer Protection by the brand, the regulators, the civil society reps and the consumer him/herself. Parents have a huge responsibility in training and restraining their kids, controlling their budgets, permitting pocket money at a learned stage, educational campuses regulating such products at the on-campus outlets etc.