Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Darwinian marketing

Facebook announced yesterday a new “social advertising” program that facilitates peer-to-peer brand recommendations.

Here’s what Facebook is proposing and why marketers should care: Users can choose to endorse a brand and then share that message with their entire social network; marketers can attach an ad message to the user's notification. It’s opt-in. It’s peer-to-peer. Sounds nice and tidy. What marketer wouldn’t like this? Well, for starters, those with crappy products and customer service.

Therein like the central point of wikibranding. While word of mouth is certainly not a new phenomenon, consumers’ instantaneous access to mass media with which to broadcast their opinions is an entirely new dynamic. Facebook's social advertising program will enable consumers to spread the good word about good products. It will also enable them to alert friends to avoid bad products or companies with frustratingly poor customer service.

In the end, this is a wake-up call to companies to design products that delight or get voted off the island.

Wikibranding is Darwinian marketing at its best.

1 comment:

David Murphy said...

Darwinian Marketing - Part II

It turns out that that Facebook's new Beacon social advertising program wasn't as opt-in as originally portrayed. In fact it became an "I can't op-out" nightmare for Facebookers as they discovered that their purchases were being broadcast to their network without full permission.

My original post, based on reports that this was opt-in, suggested this would be an example of Darwinian marketing. Great brands would have been hailed peer-to-peer. Likewise, crappy brands would get equal airplay. Wrong! This wasn't opt-in at all. It was just mass marketing at its worst.

So in the end the principles of Darwin turned on Facebook itself which this week, after howls of protest from the community, apologized and announced major changes in the program.