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The Marketing Mouth

A new approach to Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing.
(actually the same old wine in the same old bottle)


The basic principles of WOM apply to both consumer and B2B challenges. We’ll focus on B2B here, since that’s the industry I’m currently servicing. These are the tenets, not to be forgotten.
  • A happy customer is the greatest endorsement (All’s well if they’re well)
  • Give the customers a voice (They will not be well – if you cannot diagnose their problems correctly. And guess what – you gotta let them tell you about it)
  • Listen to the consumers (and you have to listen to them)
  • Engage the community (Build a bond. They have to trust you to be able to tell you)

WOM transmissions occur in several ways. Here are a few:

  • A conversation concerning a referral
  • A comment on a message board
  • A letter to the editor
  • A product or book review
  • An email A post on a blog (again – lets focus on this one – the Blogsphere has arrived. It’s time we accepted that and gave them their time in the sun – I’ll put up a post on this sometime in the near future)

When you are designing programs, be honest and authentic. I do believe that full disclosure actually aids in the success of a WOM marketing program.

1. Sleaze sells short term. Values start slow – pick up momentum, and persist. We must understand that lying, and spam in any fashion all smell like dead fish and will only harm our efforts in the long run.
2. Research: Listen, observe, monitor and mine your data.
3. Customer relationships matter. Manage them: Provide consumers with tools to talk back, respond in a timely manner and personalize.
4. Grassroots: Reach out and inform.
5. Create evangelists: Find the influencers and build affiliate and direct marketing relationships.
6. Paid and earned media: Mix up your media, buy it, and deserve earning it.
7. Change the approach from "at you" to "with you". Campaigns that are generated by both the consumer and marketer will have much stronger legs.
8. Businesses need to be interesting to get customers interested.
9. WOM programs need to be integrated into many aspects of a company's operations, not just marketing -- product development, marketing, customer support. The more integrated the programs, the more successful they will be.
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