Five steps to help you practically implement and support word of mouth in online marketing.
As I prepare for this week's Word of Mouth Basic Training (WOMBAT) conference presented by Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), I'm taken by the degree to which word of mouth has entered mainstream marketing dialogue, especially around marketing campaigns' online elements. I say "dialogue" because, frankly, that's mostly what it is: people talking about word of mouth. And that's understandable. The rise of word of mouth has to start somewhere, and it's only fitting it do so via talk around an emerging channel that's all about... talking.
We've just completed 28 (yes, 28) 10-minute episodes for WOMBAT's podcast series. Each features an author, practitioner, brand marketer, or thinker sharing word-of-mouth experiences. Though much is conversation between word-of-mouth professionals, that's OK. The first real interest in any new product, service, or marketing discipline is likely to be found by those most interested in it. In fact, this quality essentially defines genuine word of mouth and largely explains its rise in popularity. Marketers are seeking new ways to reach increasingly harder-to-reach consumers while those consumers, including business consumers, are seeking new ways to exert control over their personal information flows. Word of mouth feels attractive, whether offered in person, online, or otherwise, because it promises to bridges the gap between people who know something and people interested in learning more. And the time to act is here.
The challenge before those of us working in word of mouth and related areas of social media is to leverage standout word-of-mouth campaigns and move on a large scale from dialogue to action, and from professionals to everyone. To this end, consider WOMMA's five basic steps in implementing an effective word-of-mouth campaign:
There you have it: five steps to help you practically implement word of mouth in your online marketing and supporting efforts. Tip your organization in the direction of your customers, give them the reasons to talk, enable them to do so, and stand back; you'll have the best sales force you could ever ask for.
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Dave is the VP of social strategy at Lithium. Based in Austin, Dave is also the author of best-selling "Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day," as well as "Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement." Dave is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a frequent keynoter, and leads social technology and measurement workshops with the American Marketing Association as well as Social Media Executive Seminars, a C-level business training provider.
Dave has worked in social technology consulting and development around the world: with India's Publicis|2020media and its clients including the Bengaluru International Airport, Intel, Dell, United Brands, and Pepsico and with Austin's FG SQUARED and GSD&M| IdeaCity and clients including PGi, Southwest Airlines, AARP, Wal-Mart, and the PGA TOUR. Dave serves on the advisory boards for social technology startups including Palo Alto-based Friend2Friend and Mountain View-based Netbase and iGoals.
Prior, Dave was a co-founder of social customer care technology provider Social Dynamx, a product manager with Progressive Insurance, and a systems analyst with NASA| Jet Propulsion Labs. Dave co-founded Digital Voodoo, a web technology consultancy, in 1994. Dave holds a BS in physics and mathematics from the State University of New York/ Brockport and has served on the Advisory Board for ad:tech and the Measurement and Metrics Council with WOMMA.
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