Marketing & Sales

From Adam and Eve to Mass Media


Excerpt from Likeable Social Media, Revised and Expanded by Dave Kerpen.

In the beginning, there was Adam and Eve. Eve said to Adam, “You’ve got to try this apple,” and the first marketing interaction in the history of the world had taken place. It was simple and effective, from one trusted person’s lips to another’s ears, and it resulted in a successful, if free, “transaction.”

Word-of-mouth marketing had begun, and it would remain the best, purest, most efficient form of marketing for thousands of years (see the timeline in Figure I.1). Then, in the year 1450,the printing press ushered in a new era of mass marketing and media. Direct mail, followed by newspapers and magazines, and radio and television, allowed marketers and advertisers to target huge groups of people at once.

But today there are literally thousands of radio stations you can listen to—or free ways to listen to music—so why would you ever listen to a radio ad, when you can just change the station? There are literally thousands of television channels you can watch at any given moment and—better yet—technology that allows you to record your favorite shows and fast-forward through the commercials. So why on earth would you watch the commercials, unless you work in the industry and have professional interest?

No, people are not watching and listening to commercials the way they used to, and the marketing and media industries are changing faster than ever before. So what’s a marketer to do? How can you get the word out about your product, drive trials, drive sales, and accomplish all of the other marketing objectives you’ve got? How do you get people talking about you without being so disruptive, and, well, unlikeable? The good news is, people are already talking about brands like yours more than ever before, and thanks to social media, word can spread faster than ever before—so all you have to do is listen, respond, and harness that word to allow consumers to drive the action.

Dave Kerpen is the cofounder and Chairman of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm and the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a software platform for small businesses. Dave and his wife Carrie lead 2 teams of over 75 people in working with brands, organizations, governments, and small businesses to better leverage social media to become more transparent, responsive, engaged, and likeable.

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