Hop on over to buzzdoodle for a short but sweet little post about the simplicity of word of mouth marketing. Because... yeah, it's simple.
Here's how it works:
You make a great product.
You get people to use it.
They love your product so much that they tell their family and friends about it.
They try it.
They love it.
They tell their family and friends about it.
It starts with the great product though. Always. No exceptions. That product can be a piece of software, a car, a bike helmet, a customer service department, a window display, a story, a photograph, an ad, whatever.
I can't tell you how many times I've bought stuff based on recommendations from people I trust. As a matter of fact, I hardly ever buy anything now without asking someone what they think of it. A new triathlon bike. A pair of running shoes. A digital camera. A movie ticket. A video game. A cell phone.
Sometimes, those recommendations come unexpectedly:
"Oh my god. You HAVE to try a bite of this apple pie."
"You HAVE to see this movie!"
"Don't buy that bird food. This one's much better (and it costs $2 less)."
Every lasting relationship I have ever had with a brand or a product has either been an accident or the result of a recommendation by someone I trust. My favorite restaurants. My favorite books. My favorite bath soap. My favorite wetsuit.
If you want customers for life, that's the approach you need to consider. Again, without a really great product, forget it.
You can't fake word-of-mouth marketing (well, you can, but it doesn't work for very long, and it is sure to come back to haunt you). You can't force word-of-mouth marketing. And you can't really buy it either.
You can only facilitate it.
How? From Buzzdoodle, here is a list of things that are helpful (and in some cases vital) to a word-of-mouth friendly environment. Think of it as the building blocks of a WOMM/WOM ecosystem:
- Help other people be successful
- Superior Customer Service
- Superior Product with unexpected benefits
- Do the unexpected and make someone's day
- Publicly recognize other people
- Introduce people that you know that should know each other
- Be open, honest and human
- Ask people what it would take to have them recommend you or introduce you to their friends
- Constantly perfect your networking and communication efforts
Recap: Be helpful, be friendly, be transparent, and dedicate yourself to making people's lives better. Always.
One last thing: Your product isn't there to make money. Your product is there to fill a need (and do so better than anyone else's). Making money is just one of many positive side effects.
If you ever want WOM (and WOMM) to work for you, that's the attitude you need to adopt. If you see WOMM solely as a means to an end, you're probably better off spending your marketing budget elsewhere. (Not everyone can be the best at what they do. That's okay.)
For anyone out there who isn't content to be successful as an "also in" company, there's your ticket to a bright and exciting future.
PS: Follow this discussion thread down into the marketing trenches.