Word Of Mouth and Pinko Marketing vs. Tradition

I'm sure Jack Trout, Forbes.com columnist and Ad Executive, is a brilliant Ad Executive, but he gets paid to sell his advertising services to a company that in turn, want to sell their products or services to consumers. To an ad exec like Jack, the last thing he wants to see is traditional marketing values erode within the digital economy. To rephrase, the values are not eroding, but the channels used to deliver them are.

An incredibly arrogant statement Jack makes is "If I go to all this trouble developing a positioning strategy for my product, I want to see that message delivered."  Marketing should not be about delivering what you create. It should be about listening to what your consumers want and doing all you can to help them develop their own favorable brand impression. Some companies accomplish this through the quality of their product, others through superior customer service, and best case, both.

As an ad exec, it is Jack's job to sell a product no matter how lame it is. If Jack's job was to promote the King Kong movie he references in the article, of course he doesn't want Word of Mouth to control the brand as it was described as "Too long, too loud and overdone." His job is to paint a pretty brand portrait, no matter how inaccurate, of the product and sell it as the "miracle cure."

More importantly, for the companies that manufacture those products or services, if you or your agency is scared of Word of Mouth, then you shouldn't be spending your $ on agencies or advertising, you should be spending it on improving your product or service. If done right, Word of Mouth wil deliver ROI substantially higher than the ad agency you hired to churn spin.

To help companies with inferior products, there will always be a place, and a need, for ad execs like Jack. How else could a company like Folger's Coffee dominate the retail ground roast coffee market? It surely wasn't built on taste.

For the rest of you that create a truly great product that doesn't need insincere spin, Tara Hunt has created a great Marketing Map in the spirit of Pinko Marketing that shows the difference between Traditional Advertising and "get out of the way marketing"


  1. In response to all the chatter about Jack Trout’s comments on Word-of-mouth marketing, Trout invited a group of “buzz evangelist” to face off with him on his radio program. Steve Rubel and Rick Murray of Edelman, Emanuel Rosen of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, Seth Godin, Joseph Jaffe and Errol Smith (me….producer of Trout Radio) sat down to deconstruct the buzz around word-of-mouth. I listened to all the arguments before sitting in on the roundtable discussion to end the series and concluded that rumors of Jack’s passing are indeed greatly exaggerated… You can hear the interviews at the roundtable wrap up at:


    and the entire series at:


  2. Brandon said

    Great show Errol, thanks for the tip and kudos to Jack for confronting this head-on.


RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: