That social media and online shopping generate buzz around a variety of products and companies is well known. But marketing gurus Ed Keller and Brad Fay ’87, the CEO and COO respectively of the Keller Fay Group: Word of Mouth Research & Consulting, argue that in-person contact is the unrivaled factor in getting consumers to buy.
In The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, Keller and Fay tackle the myth of online advertising power, arguing that a whopping 90 percent of brand influence occurs offline.
With a diverse array of case studies about household names such as General Mills, Old Spice, Kraft, Zappos, Toyota, and Dell, The Face-to-Face Book helps us understand social marketing phenomena by combining consumer psychology with the know-how of two prominent word-of-mouth experts.
Likening the rise of social media to the American gold rush, Keller and Fay argue that companies are “chasing an immense social wave that is not yet fully understood.” They point out the limits of social media in creating a “talkworthy” and successful brand name, and they reveal that all that glitters on a computer screen is not marketing gold.
Perhaps most interesting is “The Road to the White House is Lined with Influencers,” Keller and Fay’s examination of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, which is widely credited with savvy use of social media. While the consensus is that Obama’s online presence secured him significant influence among voters, campaign insiders credit on-the-ground communication strategy as critically important.
With its diverse approaches to in-person communication, Keller and Fay provide an informative tool that debunks our perceptions of social media, ultimately allowing marketers and customers to connect and engage with each other where most of the action occurs—offline.