“Did you hear about the new Swiffer? It saves every housewives lives!” “Please tell me you’ve seen the new Ipad..Its LIFE-CHANGING” Every marketers dream. We want you to tell your mother, your brother, your husband, your friends, your co-workers..heck, even tell your dog! This is word of mouth and we LOVE it. We get you all charged up with an exciting service and product so we not only keep you a satisfied consumer but we boost our business. Genius, right? We call this WOM (Word of Mouth).
Word of Mouth is “the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues” (Li & Bernoff, 2008). Here’s a YouTube video I found explains Word of Mouth so perfectly.
So, here’s why it works…
- It’s believable. When you go to look at a product, typically, the first thing you’ll do is check reviews of customers who have previously used the product or service, right? You find out before even buying it if its worth the money spent and how it operates. Below is an example of a testimonial to the service Client Heartbeat.
- It’s self-spreading. Like above, we look to others for the reviews we want to see before going forward with a service or product and once one voice is speaking out about it, there’s another ten within minutes. You tell your classmate and within a minute, your class of 30 will know all about it. It’s like wildfire for your business.
- It’s self-reinforcing. Once the word’s out, it’s only going to continue to grow because someone is always going to have something to say.
So if it works so well, what’s next? In Groundswell, they interviewed numerous companies who have succeeded with this endeavor and the three basic techniques for connecting with your brand’s enthusiasts:
- Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews
- Create a community to energize your customers
- Participate in and energize online communities of your brands enthusiasts.
Energizing is both powerful and riskier than techniques such as Talking and Listening from my previous blogs, but why is it riskier? Because now you’re dealing with people who ARE going to talk so you must prepare yourself for a new way of thinking. Once you’ve gotten these techniques down and you’ve got people talking about your product, you have to remember and be able to retaliate from customers who are not going to like your product or service. Try and convert them back into customers, let them know you’re there to help and support. With the comments they say about your product, whether it was too expensive for what its worth or the color wasn’t shown correctly on the website etc. Here are five steps taken from the chapter for applying the techniques of energizing to your own business…
- Figure out if you want to energize the Groundswell. Word of mouth works for companies that are just or more than enthusiastic about their products as the customer is. Its not for everyone.
- Check the social technographics profile of your customers. You need to research to determine how actively your customers are going to be involved in the Groundswell. If you’re selling Iphones, your customers are already involved in the groundswell; however, if you’re selling a product like mattresses, the likeliness of your customers being in the groundswell is slim to none.
- Ask yourself, “What is my customer’s problem?” Take Lego for example. Most customers aren’t going to talk about just Lego, but “building” with Lego and that’s something completely different. Figure out what they want by listening.
- Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographics profile and problems. For those retailers and other direct sellers, it makes sense for their retailers to improve based upon rates and reviews given. And for other businesses, communities make sense.
- Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul. “A community is like a marriage; it requires constant adjustment to grow and become more rewarding. And if you’re not into it for the long haul, well, maybe you should think about the ugly endings you’ve seen to marriages that lacked that long-term effect” (Li & Bernoff, 2008).
Have we gotten you intrigued yet? When you start to charge up and energize your company and your customers, be prepared to then go into the stage of embracing them; that is, turning those customers into an integral part of the company’s products and processes. Energizing leads to embracing.
See y’all next week,
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston, Massuchusetts: Harvard Business School Publishing.