Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) has been regarded as an important piece of the marketing puzzle, and increasingly is proving an essential component to any communications or marketing strategy. But what exactly is it and how can organizations effectively implement it?
Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing, defines it as, “Word of mouth marketing is two things: it’s giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for the conversation to take place.”
The reason could be a great feature or service or an amazing experience, the buzz worthy moment. Making it easier includes the logistical components – the programs or support you provide to help the conversation spread farther and faster. This can be through forums, brand ambassadors, emails, etc.
Social media is now a component of word of mouth marketing, but online has always been a big part of it – think email marketing and the ability to forward that email onto someone else.
But is word of mouth suitable for every company? Can a sock manufacturer have just as much success as Apple for instance?
“My favorite word of mouth examples are all for really boring stuff,” Sernovitz said. “Fiskar scissors has this giant fan club called the Fiskarteers and it’s all of these scrap bookers who meet up several times a year, they have an online community and they have blogs and incredible enthusiasm. Duck brand duct tape sponsors an annual ‘make a prom dress out of duct tape’ competition.”
To effectively use word of mouth there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Be interesting
2. Make it easy
3. Make people happy
4. Earn trust and respect.
Sernovitz also suggests using the “5 T’s”: talkers, topics, tools, taking part, and tracking and measuring.
“The most important thing is called the five T’s and if you start to think about those, it’s how you build a campaign,” Sernovitz said.
“It doesn’t start with tools,” he said. “It doesn’t start with, ‘what are we going to do on Twitter?’ It starts with ‘who’s going to talk about us?’ The talkers. ‘What are they going to say?’ Then if Twitter is the place we should be sharing, then Twitter is the place we should be sharing it.”
Are you using word of mouth strategies? If so, what has and had not worked? Or has a company ever compelled you enough to use word of mouth? What did they do?
**Andy Sernovitz will send a signed copy of his book, “Word of Mouth Marketing” to the best two comments – so comment away!