Word of Mouth MarketingPosted on January 5th, 2011 by Paul McArdle – 1 Comment
This was the only book I managed to finish over the Christmas – New Year period, after starting out with a few.
What we thought
“Word of Mouth Marketing”
by Andy Sernovitz
Worth a Read
|I’ve posted separately about why we read, and review, so many books…|
This book is along the lines of a couple others I have read on the topic (including “The Anatomy of Buzz”, which was one I reviewed earlier.
1) A definition
The author provides a definition of word of mouth marketing as follows:
“Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and
making it easier for that conversation to take place.” (p3)
In simple terms, he says, “it’s everything you can do to get people talking”.
From my perspective, this is something worth striving for.
2) The four rules
It should be common sense, but is worth repeating his four rules:
Rule #1 = Be interesting (Scott Ginsberg and others use the term “being remarkable”).
Rule #2 = Make people happy (some would go further and state that you need to make customers more than happy for them to want to proactively talk about you).
Rule #3 = Earn trust and respect (the unstated assumption in this is that our product must be good).
Rule #4 = Make it easy (i.e. for people to talk).
3) The five T’s
It seems many authors like to use lists – this author has come up with a list of five basic elements that need to be in place for word of mouth to spread.
T1 = Talkers
Prominent talkers are called “hubs” by Rosen and “connectors” by Gladwell.
This author stresses more an approach whereby talkers are just regular people who (for various reasons) might choose to talk about us, and our products.
See chapter 4 (from p65) for the author’s suggestions about how to identify those who want to talk about us. Amongst other things:
(a) He lists 7 types of talker
(b) He provides 3 criteria to recognise them (passion, credibility and connection).
Ironically, (as an example of a talker) the author references this blog by Matt Galloway, calling it an “intense, detailed blog about the obscure benefits details of word of mouth marketing research methodology”. Trouble is that the book was published sometime in 2006 but yet 26th April of that year was his last post in that guise.
A useful reminders that talkers sometimes stop!
As a PS, I noted Matt is now up and running again at this new address, but not focusing his posts on marketing.
T2 = Topics
In his words, “give people a reason to talk”.
Again, this author provides examples of how ordinary topics can provide the impetus for people to talk about us (no need to wait until the super-creative bug strikes).
In chapter 5 (from p95), the author expands on several issues relating to topics, including:
(a) Finding a great topic – relating concepts similar to those in “Made to Stick”;
(b) Taking care of your topic.
In particular, he has a pragmatic emphasis on finding a topic that we can use today.
He’s careful to emphasise that it’s not a company’s mission statement:
Our Mission is “making the electricity market understandable” but we know that it’s not exactly going to get the chatter-bugs talking. Assessing who’s the best demand forecaster in the NEM, though, has some promise (in our narrow vertical industry).
T3 = Tools
He notes that “even the best topics need a little help to spread”.
In chapter 6 (from p95), the author emphasises the need to consider both speed and portability.
There is considerable detail here that we will be wise to revisit at various times in future.
He also includes three “musts” for any organisation to implement. (p120).
T4 = Taking Part
He says this is “joining the conversation”.
In chapter 7 (from p151), the author emphasises that “word of mouth is as much about customer service as it is about marketing”.
I believe in a similar thing, but at a broader level – ultimately (at least for us) marketing is all about identifying who we can possibly be of service to, opening up a relationship with them, through that understanding what they need and (hence) delighting them with how we meet their needs.
Maybe it is because of the particular industry we’re in, but I don’t see a number of facets of what some might term “traditional marketing” as applicable for us.
Hence, when we do start the recruitment process for our GM Marketing & Sales in 2011, it won’t be a traditional sort of person we’ll be looking for.
He goes on to say that “fixing problems is the most powerful marketing you can do”.
I believe that having a good product is a pre-requisite to achieving any decent marketing return at all. We’re continuing to strive to ensure that our products always match, or are ahead of, our client’s evolving expectations.
That does not mean that problems won’t arise from time to time. In the past we have been complimented (by some clients) about the customer support we provide when things have gone awry in the past (though I note that we have disappointed others, in some instances).
Moving into 2011, we will be continuing to work to improve the customer support we provide when things do go wrong.
T5 = Tracking
He says this is “measuring and understanding what people are saying”.
In a skinny chapter 8 at the end of the book (from p167), the author outlines a number of ways we can do this.
Included in this chapter is a few paragraphs about the Net Promoter Score, which is something we might look further into implementing for ourselves, as our M&S Department begins to grow.
This will be something for our GM Marketing & Sales to consider…
4) Specific Implications
This book directly promoted, or at least prompted, several ideas that we can implement in the months and years ahead.
Some will be in the domain of Derrick and the DevTeam, whilst others will be in the domain of the new GM for Marketing and Sales.
These ideas have been listed here [in this restricted post].