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December 6, 2007

Word of Mouth Marketing

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Brett Tabke and I rush over next door for the next session (and my last for the day. Lisa and I planned on covering them all but our flight home wouldn’t allow it. Bummer.) Anyway, the last session of my Pubcon experience has speakers Louise Rijk, Advanced Media Productions, Inc. and Greg Hartnett, Best of The Web here to talk about how to market via Word of Mouth, hereafter WOM.

Louise Rijk is up first and she’ll walk us through what WOM is. Much of what she’ll cover is related to social media.

WOM marketing definition: It’s the oldest form of marketing. WOM is the act of consumers providing honet information to other consumers. It’s driven by influencers with large social networks. Organic WOM is when people naturally talk about something because they’re happy about it. If you’ve got satisfied customers, they’re going to talk about it. Good customer feedback helps with WOM. Amplified WOM is when marketers launch campaigns to accelerate the spread of WOM. Social media today allows you to build communities around your brand. You can motivate the right people and they’ll become your evangelists. You can use advertising to create a buzz as well. Black Friday is advertising that also spreads via WOM.

How does WOM marketing work? It happens when people are given a reason to talk about a product or service, online or off. It’s driven by customer satisfaction, two-way dialogue and transparency.

Online conversations include using tools to spread ideas about products and services through social networks. It’s growing.

WOM marketing is based on the principles of influencers to spread a message. People think that online WOM marketing is inexpensive but it really isn’t. The success of a campaign is how many people you reach, not how many convert.

How do you recruit influencers? 10 percent of the influencers are the power influencers who reach a lot of people. 90 percent of the rest of the people are moderate influencers. They reach fewer people but there are more of them. You shouldn’t ignore that part of the market.

There are four steps that influencers go through: Awarenss research personal experience recommendations

Start by listening online about what people are saying about your product in order to get the unfiltered experiences. There are listening services that will do that for you as well. BuzzLogic is one of them and it returns actionable items for you. [This is similar to brand management research.]

Don’t forget to tap into your in house customer service. You can find your loyal customers that way and reach out to them.

Develop or create something that gives people something to talk about. Target the authority influencers first and their communities. Honesty is key, you have to be part of the community and engage it.

Differences in Social Media Marketing: it’s an aspect of WOM marketing. It’s online only unlike WOMM which is only 15-20 percent online. It can spread by itself instead of relying on influencers. Not always brand relevant. Message must be outrageous instead of just having a great product that inspires excitement.

Major brand marketers are moving from testing WOMM to including it into fully integrated marketing campaigns.

A WOM campaign generates more online buzz when supported by traditional paid media buys. Greater paid media spend equals greater online buzz. 64 percent of moderate influencers do online research after seeing offline promotions but only 30 percent will transition in the reverse. TV is still a good way to reach influencers but even that is fragmented.

Integration of WOMM and traditional advertising requires extensive planning, integrated execution and comprehensive effectiveness measurement. It’s not a one time fix, you can’t just send out a single press release and call it a day. You have to stick with it.

I wish she would leave her slides up longer. I can’t get more than half of them down.

Reaching the Influencers:
Identify
Motivate
Sustain motivation
Track and Measure

She describes a campaign they created for one of their clients. They started with a free offer as a motivation then started in the social media sites including Flickr and YouTube. They looked out for other influencers as well, bloggers in the space, etc.

They selected 50 influencers and then asked them to complete some other step in order to pass the buzz along–blogs, photo projects in Flickr and videos to YouTube.

It’s a matter of carrying through the whole process in order to make an impact.

Greg Hartnett says they basically built the company by WOM and so he’s going to use them as a case study. You know why I like case studies? We don’t blog them. I’ll just take out a couple highlights where it doesn’t overlap with Louise’s.

He recommends reading Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz and Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell.

Who are your influencers/happy talkers? Happy customers, online talkers, sweet swag (the people wearing your t-shirts or grabbing things from your booth. Note: Some of them are just swag junkies), eager employees, fans or hobbyists, professionals.

What will they talk about?

  • Have a Great Product or Service. Think of Google–they grew entirely by WOM.
  • Specials or Discounts.
  • Extraordinary Customer Service — turn that frown upside down.
  • Partnering with a Charity.

How do you get them talking?

  • Ask for the referral
  • Newsletters/Email — anything that you ever do through WOM you should have an email for
  • The Social Network effect
  • Blogs
  • The power of swag

Don’t put a big cartoony logo on your shirt, try to put something on there that people will actually want to wear. Try to be cool and edgy without being offensive.

He likes Google’s Blog search to monitor what people are saying. I have no idea why since it sort of sucks. Has he not ever seen Ask’s? He also mentions Technorati. No argument there.

You have to take part in the conversation. There is probably nothing more important than honesty and transparency. If you’re in the forums, you need to help, not deliver hype. No one wants to hear what you have to say if your post ends with a pitch.

Have your own blog but also have someone empowered to go out and comment on other industry blogs. Taking part in the overall conversation is important.

Ultimately it’s about having happy customers. Focus on it 100 percent. Lead your team by example with respect and ethics. Send thank yous to people. Under promise and over deliver. Make a habit of going above and beyond.

Brett tells us that our name tag holders turn into sunglasses holders. Okay then.

No Q&A, I think everyone is too tired for questions.

And that’s it for me! Thanks everyone for reading. We’ll be home tomorrow and Lisa will give us some kind of Friday Recap…probably.

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One response to “Word of Mouth Marketing”

  1. geri writes:

    WOM online isn’t much different from in person, except in person WOM involves trust… Online WOM… not so much.



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