Quite often I receive search/digital marketing related job adverts via email from Recruitment Agencies or Jobsites which I mostly delete based on the content of the email :) But this one time, I received a job advert which I thought was interesting and as I perused the details of the role I saw a line that read “The candidate most have Whispering Marketing experience”. Prior to this experience, I have always known whispering campaign to be an organized spreading of damaging and defamatory rumours to destroy the reputation of a person, group etc while the source of the rumours seeks to avoid being detected while spreading them. But then again, doesn’t a lot of things which can be used to cause havoc be used to make something life-saving and mouth-savouring :) for example, your home electric cooker. You get my drift.
Likewise, since I stumbled into the phrase ‘Whisper Marketing Campaign’ in the job advert, I have been trying to fully understand it’s place in today’s digital marketing – if it’s possible and how we can use whispering marketing to make our message get heard and hopefully go viral, expand product/services awareness and ultimately make more sales. Is it really possible to use whispering marketing to fuel customer awareness and acquisition efforts? If yes, in what capacity do you see whispering marketing being utilized in online customer awareness and acquisition efforts?
A while ago, I read how psychological warfare techniques used in ‘World War I’ helped bring about whispering campaigns. Back then Allies spread innuendos like the German atrocity stories, to enable them win support for their causes. To bring this home, even companies started creating word-of-mouth campaigns geared towards attacking the leading competition. For example, a story was told on how a rival of Chesterfield cigarettes, paid men along the Atlantic seaboard to run into stores and ask for cigarettes, and when the salesman gave them Chesterfield’s cigarette, the men would respond loudly, "I don’t want that kind. There’s a contagious disease in their plant." As if that wasn’t enough to scare people off, the men would slyly add, "and the officers of the corporation are giving large sums to the Nazis." Now the motive of this post is not to instigate any party to create defamatory or malicious whispering marketing campaign of any sort against their leading competition, as I aforementioned, the tool to orchestrate evil can certainly be used to orchestrate good, if we so wishes.
I’m aware that some companies utilize some form of ‘astroturfing’ where they pay bloggers to mention their products, services or causes in their various blog post and/or hire people to post comments on blogs, forums, online encyclopedias, etc. that steer online conversations in desired directions. These strategies when executed properly I believe works ‘magic’ based on the transparency, thought-process and organization put into the campaign. But then again I’m sure there are more strategies/ideas that can make whispering marketing campaign work well and enable the message you want your audience to hear – go viral; when executed properly.
Are you or anyone you know running whispering marketing campaign in any form? And how successful are you/they in developing and optimizing these sorts of campaigns? Is there a future for whispering marketing as a tool to propel online customer awareness and acquisition efforts? And since we have to measure the outcome of a campaign to gauge how successful it was, how would you go about measuring the outcome of a whispering marketing campaign if you are to run one?
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