Matt Morrison explains why social media is inherently marketing resistant

October 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Events | 3 Comments
Tags: influence, porter novelli, social media marketing, word of mouth

There was a sense in the room, at our WOM UK espresso briefing yesterday morning, that Global Head of Digital for Porter Novelli Matt Morrison (aka @mediaczar) was saying what many marketers are secretly realising but few are brave enough to admit: that pushing brand messages in social media doesn’t work.

WOM Espresso 1

After the packed room of agency professionals, brand execs, academics, and interested civilians had had their fill of coffee, croissants and networking, Matt explained the different ways in which PN have attempted to model the influence of individuals in social media in order to push brand messages – and just how inadequate those models have proved to be.

In his presentation (embedded below), Matt looked at the elements that make someone influential in a network – their popularity (otherwise known as reach), their betweenness (how central they are in connecting others), their homophily (how they flock together with likeminded folk) and their susceptibility (how persuadable they are) – and demonstrated how PN created visual maps of influence for key individuals. However, he also discussed how impossible it is in practice to truly track our influences. Most social media campaigns simply result in an unsustained and isolated  ’hiccough’ of activity thanks to the inevitable clash between brand self-interest and the motivations of their customers.

This isn’t to say the conclusions were entirely bleak. Matt agreed that an ethical and authentic word of mouth approach, which puts the messages and needs of the consumer before those of the brand, and relies on listening and co-creation rather than one-way broadcasting, is both effective and inspiring. The problem is instead the reluctance of brands to value this approach, or invest the required budget in a fully sophisticated WOM strategy.

The takeaway message was that education is essential – brands must understand what truly effective and consumer-focused word of mouth means, and costs, if they are to have any meaningful engagement in social media. Until then, many agencies will get away with cheap, pointless viral campaigns that give WOM a bad name. For me, it was an empowering endorsement of WOM UK’s mission to provide education and professional and ethical development.

This is what we love to see in our espresso briefings – provocative issues and challenges aired in a safe space where those interested in WOM can illuminate and debate what’s really happening in the industry. Look out for November’s espresso being hosted by Face, and come along to hear Dr Martin Oetting on November 18th if you want a taste of just how powerful WOM marketing – done the right way – can be.

October Espresso Briefing: Global PR leaders Porter Novelli present their latest WOM case studies

October 12, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Events | 2 Comments
Tags: Case studies, porter novelli, PR, social media, word of mouth

Word of mouth is an industry awash in rhetoric. Everyone’s got their piece to say about why consumer buzz is the lifeblood of brands, their golden rules and their do’s and don’ts. But there are far fewer practical examples of good WOM campaigns: the thinking behind them, the execution, and the results. Our free monthly Espresso Briefings – work in progress updates from leading practitioners – aim to redress the balance.

On 8.30am, Wednesday 28th October, Matt Morrison, Global Head of Digital for Porter Novelli, will present on Social network analysis: approach and case studies.


The presentation will be “work in progress” covering a brief background on social network analysis and how Porter Novelli have applied it to Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere to identify clusters & cliques, and spread WOM through influencers, spreaders, and hubs.

Matt will talk about some of their other clients’ case studies (the good the bad and the ugly!) – notably the phone-around they ran for HP TSG – and some of PN’s experiments like OPML and their resulting learnings. By looking at how UK politicians, US congressmen, and the PR industry use Twitter, Matt will drill down into what makes a successful microblogging campaign. And he’ll share the knowledge, processes, and tools  that they use for gathering and processing data, like Perl scripts and Yahoo! Pipes.

Join us for the presentation, along with breakfast and networking until 10am, at Porter Novelli, 31 St Petersburgh, Place, London W2 4LA – email [email protected] to register. Members get priority on places, so if you haven’t already joined us, what are you waiting for?

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