Paid word of mouth by taxi drivers

Whenever I take a taxi, I am in no mood for a conversation. It’s either too early in the morning when I am on my to the airport, or it is late in the evening after a party… You know the deal. So I was a bit shocked, when I read about taxi drivers in London now being paid to start a conversation in which they try to explain the benefits of a certain product or service… Hope this doesn’t start in Germany. Don’t want a conversation in a cab and I certainly don’t want a sales pitch during a taxi ride…

The trick is organised by Taxi Promotions UK, who are apparently doing that kind of thing since 10 years, believe it or not!

A taxi ride gives marketers something they find increasingly elusive – a captive audience – at a time when consumers are bombarded with commercial messages and when digital technology gives them the power to skip TV ads.

The average London taxi ride lasts 16 minutes, said Asher Moses, managing director of Taxi Promotions. In a normal working day, a driver picks up 40 to 60 fares; multiply that by 10 drivers, for the 888 campaign, and the audience that can be reached in a campaign that lasts several months is sizable.

Scary? You bet. Who’s next, trying to sell us something, while we think we simply pay them for their services? Our hairdresser, our doctor, etc.?

Conversational Marketing might outpace traditional marketing (sometime)

Interesting. There is a post at the „social media today“ blog that states that conversational marketing will outpace traditional marketing by the year 2012. The main obstacles at the moment seem to be:

“Manpower restraints” – 51.1%

“Fear of loss of control” – 46.9%

“Inadequate metrics” – 45.4%

“Culture of their organizations” – 43.5%

“Difficulty with internal sell-through” – 35.8%

The second point should be easier to manage, once the first point has been solved. But that needs success on point 5, which depends on point 3, because point 4 necessitates success on point 3. Confusing? Yes. But doable. And very necessary.

Spendings on conversational marketing will most likely increase.

Joe Jaffe, who just released his new book „join the conversation“ (and very successfully bumrushed the charts on amazon) also conducted a study (together with the Society for New Communications Research and TWI Surveys) on how marketers might shift their budgets to conversational findings.

Here is an excerpt from his blog (the whole study is here):

  • Nearly 57% of respondents report that in 5 years time, what they spend on conversational marketing will be greater than that of traditional marketing.  Another roughly 24% believed it would be the same as traditional marketing
  • 70% are currently spending 2.5% or less of their communications budgets on conversational marketing, but two-thirds plan to increase their investment in conversation within the next twelve months
  • Respondents noted that the primary obstacles currently preventing them from investing more in conversational marketing include: “Manpower restraints” – 51.1% “Fear of loss of control” – 46.9% “Inadequate metrics” – 45.4% “Culture of their organizations” – 43.5% “Difficulty with internal sell-through” – 35.8%

The rest you can find in his new book. I should get mine soon, amazon already notified me, that it shipped yesterday. (I helped Joe bumrush the charts on Sunday … )