I get some interesting spam email messages. I recently received one from someone named Marcel trying to sell me a watch. The subject line read "Mauricio said these are incredible." Another one, also for watches, said "Kerri said these are unbelievable."
Now even though I know no one by those names, I'm sure Kerri and Mauricio are reputable folks who know a fine timepiece when they see it. But I don't think these emails are trying to fool me into thinking that these are real endorsements from real people I know. Surely the spammers could choose more common names that Kerri or Mauricio, right? Maybe they think those names are unique enough to get my attention.
But "word of mouth" is really at work here. The company isn't saying "Red-hot watches here, Get yer Rollexx, here." Instead, they have "Mauricio" and "Kerri" give testimonial endorsements of their products. The cynic in me says this must work or they wouldn't all be doing it.
It turns out, people are pretty trusting of others. CNet, Epinions, and Amazon are all examples of where product reviews made by complete strangers, have been shown to be incredibly valuable. Sites like Digg, Reddit and Newsvine take this "wisdom of crowds" approach and apply it to the news.
I propose that never before in the history of man have the thoughts and opinions of strangers been so powerful - powerful enough to influence what we read, hear, buy and watch.
Hmmm...Buy. Watch. Now what did I do with that email from Marcel...?
Labels: marketing, spam, wom