Finding Your Audience, With a Little Help from Friends

At the rate the media is fragmenting -- and with consumers saying enough! with the bombardment of advertising -- marketers may ultimately have to send out reconnaissance
missions to find new customers. In the meantime, two new surveys point to viral and word of mouth marketing (V&WOM) -- as well as targeting so-called "enthusiasts" -- as
increasingly effective PR tools to build buzz and cut through the clutter. The first study, from London-based Datamonitor, finds that consumers are suffering from information
overload and prefer to turn to family and/or friends for product recommendations. The second study, from Westlake Village, Calif.-based Bear Enthusiast Marketing Group, features
the first in a series of white papers resulting from one-on-one interviews with about 100 enthusiasts across the U.S. The mission: help marketers understand their consumer base by
understanding enthusiast subsets. As Rick Hauser, senior VP of Bear Enthusiast Group, puts it, "When you talk to diehard enthusiasts you're not only sending the message to them
but to people who share that person's interests."