While the Internet has changed marketing forever, there is a surprising amount of stuff we think of as new that is actually quite ancient. Take the hot topic of advocacy.

Procter and Gamble and Unilever in their soap wars long recognized the power of employing the well-informed neighbor to impart wisdom to the housewife ingénue over the garden fence or the kitchen table. Much later, consultants invented models such as the Loyalty Ladder that showed how to drive the target form suspect to advocate in 5 easy steps.

But the new and improved digital marketing toolbox has made creating brand endorsement significantly faster, easier and more systematic, and smart marketing wisdom now emphasizes the importance of driving advocacy rather than focusing on awareness and trial which is what the old broadcast media did. If the conventional linear consumer funnel hasn’t been completely mothballed in communications planning, it is being steadily replaced by the virtuous circles and swirls to be found in brand advocacy models.

So word of mouth -or is that word of tweet- is what you need today. Check out the excellent movie Blank on You Tube for a wry look at this new obsession. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl9fvn8c_Eo).

Advocacy measurement is big business. Brands, especially those in the service sector, need to monitor their NPSs (Net Promoter Scores) that track the likelihood of customers to endorse it. Trip Advisor, Amazon and Goodreads and other online giants feature searchable databases crammed with user feedback. Meanwhile Linked in is attempting to be a one-stop shop for personal brand building and promotion but manages to polarize opinion with its requests for profile endorsements. Sponsorship now plays an increasingly important support role here too and many brands sign up celebrities as brand ambassadors to evangelize the brand gospel. See how many stars you can correctly match to the products they endorse.