MARK4474- Talking (Chapter 6)



I am probably going to sound even more repetitive, because the most recent chapter of study focuses on how “talking” (or engaging) with the groundswell differs from the traditional marketing that we grew up with.

Traditional marketing involves more “shouting” than actual interactions with the target market. Occasionally, there would be ads for random contests to do online or in store, but large part traditional marketing is simply advertising on traditional media/ads.  In 2009, around $400 billion was spent on marketing worldwide. Of that amount, most of that was spent on traditional ads or “shouting” (Li & Bernoff, 2008). That classic approach of repetition in media is something that we still see today. I love when I see the same product advertised back to back during a commercial break. If I didn’t hate your company before, I certainly do now!

The hope is that with enough repetition, consumers will eventually become buyers (and loyal customers). Although this does happen, I don’t foresee this holding true in the future. Especially as consumers are making the switch to streaming services rather than paying for a cable package. This is why companies need to spend more time “talking” with their consumers. By engaging in the groundswell, you are opening the doors for new levels of loyalty. There is a huge shift in the market where consumers rely on recommendations from friends or reviews from strangers. This means that most of us don’t trust the traditional advertising we are seeing on TV. (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

A lot of consumers are engaged in spaced like Facebook pages, Instagram, and other blogs. If your company wants to engage this group of customers, you need to be able to put in the work. Consumers expect you to consistently engage with the community you are reaching. This space is not a one-off commercial.

Ways to “talk” with the groundswell

1. Post a viral video online: Create you own viral video. Make sure it’s something that hasn’t been done. There’s nothing worse than a company or organization that copies another’s success. People will see right through your BS (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

2. Engage in social media sites: Anyone can create an account on social media. It’s important that you stay engaged. That being said, make sure you give your audience a reason to engage with you. As I stated in a previous blog, if you are too professional consumers will be less likely to follow (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

3. Join blog sites: Get your people on board! Allowing staff to create original content that promotes your business is a more personal way of sharing your story, rather than making a commercial. As I said before, I had seen a news story (maybe I read it) about a CEO that stays at various locations of his hotel chains. He writes about his experiences and shares it for everyone to see. Even though it’s the CEO writing it, people seem to become more engaged with what the chain has to offer (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

4. Create a community: This doesn’t have to be forums. Although, I see a lot of companies and professional travel writers with various types of spaces to engage with their consumers (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

Figuring out the best way to “talk” with consumers completely depends on your target market, and whether or not you see potential for a community to be created around them. Previously, I have talked about the “Social Technographics Profile”, which needs to be considered before you make the next step. If your market consists of a lot of people between ages 18-30, you should be focused on giving them the opportunity to create/engage with others in the same target market. If your target lies within a lot of people over the age of 50, you should probably shift the focus away from content creating because this group is made up of mostly spectators.

Travel Industry

I think “talking” with consumers is a lot easier to do in the travel industry because people are generally more interested in the subject matter, and they are actively looking for new resources with user-based content as well. Here’s an example of a new company:

1. Outbound (NEW)


I signed up for Outbound myself. Outbound is a new platform that makes it easier for travellers to connect. You can look up past trips of other travellers, friend them, and then ask them for advice. You can also post your own itinerary, and other travellers can find you when they are searching for similar locations/dates. Outbound also has a feature that lets you know if other Outbound users are in your area, making it easier to connect with other travellers abroad.

This is why I love learning about the travel industry, because in many cases this industry goes against what the Social Technographics Profile has taught us. I have found a lot of people over the age of 40 creating/engaging on Outbound. This is a result of Outbound understanding their market and making it simple for everyone to sign up.

As stated previously, Outbound had recently done a contest with the winner receiving a Go Pro camera. Entrants had to follow them on Instagram (where they now have about 7,000 followers), and repost the contest picture to their own feed. Entrants also had to download the application to their phone to be included in the contest. I liked this approach as it got people to engage in both their social media content and download their app as well.

In a previous blog, I wrote about how Outbound recruits bloggers to their site/app. These bloggers are currently travelling and simply sharing their stories. At the same time, the bloggers are expected to promote the Outbound brand on their own social media sites.

That’s what companies in travel have to do today. They need platforms where there is room for user-generated content and sharing. This is the best way to get your word out in this industry, where traditional advertising would not have the same effect.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Press.

Outbound Site:

Categories: MARK4474- Social Media

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