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Making "Word of Mouth" Work for Your Business

Sep 28, 2010

Most businesses list a word-of-mouth marketing strategy as a single line item in their business and/or marketing plan.  It is cost effective, but perhaps the most difficult strategy to successfully pursue.  When successful, it is perhaps the Holy Grail for marketers.  What your organization needs to do is understand what makes a successful “word-of-mouth” campaign work and figure out if it is something that works for your line of business/products. 

 

The first and most important quality of a word-of-mouth campaign is being remarkable.  What about you, your product, your marketing campaign, your services or your organization are interesting enough that people will remark to their personal contacts?  Seth Godin’s first example of being remarkable in his book “The Purple Cow” is the purple cow.  If you are driving through dairy farms, you will probably not come to your destination and exclaim “did you see the cow in the field back there?”  However, if there was a purple cow in a field among all the other cows, you are likely to mention this to friends and colleagues.  If your product/service, business is/does something very remarkable among your target clients, you are lucky.  Think about really great restaurants and menu items you’ve been told about, great vacation destinations or books or movies you’ve been recommended.  The “remarkability” is inherent in the product.

 

If your product is rather dull and your company isn’t that remarkable, what can you do?  Perhaps you need to consider how to make your product/service better in some way to be remarkable?  Maybe there is something your company can do to make it remarkable among your target customers?  Sometimes having a good marketing campaign is enough to make you remarkable among your target audience.  Recently, Old Spice figured out their customers were often the wives of their target market and developed a very fun ad targeting them that has had almost 20 million views on YouTube.  This has certainly given Old Spice brand awareness and has made it go over the tipping point of going viral and it has also helped it increase market share in a stable product category.  Mentos at first was reluctant to acknowledge the Mentos and Diet Coke videos, but soon realized the “explosive” nature of what was happening and encouraged the fan-developed campaign.

 

Finally, spreading the word.  Getting the word out about what makes you remarkable can be easy if you are really remarkable since your customers and fans will do the work for you.  In most cases, simply pointing out what is remarkable is enough to get things started, but it wouldn’t hurt to include the message in your traditional, online and social media marketing.



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Category: Web/Tech

Jim Drever

Jim Drever is a counselor with the Wyoming SBDC.


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