Thursday, November 8, 2012
Last week Andy Sernovitz, author of “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking,” spoke to a group of ExactTarget customers, employees, and prospects at an event in San Francisco. While we enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery from the deck of Waterbar on Embarcadero, Andy shared the most enjoyable marketing presentation I’ve seen in some time so I wanted to share some of the key points I learned from him with you*:
1. It all starts with happiness. Customers will talk about you whether they’re happy or not, obviously, but it’s the happy ones you want to activate – so making sure your customers are mostly happy should be considered not just customer service, but a critical marketing strategy. Also important to note, the worst detractor is an advocate who feels let down. If they’ve been recommending you and singing your praises, they have their reputation on the line and will react more severely to a negative experience.
2. Give them something to talk about. Be remarkable. Do something worth talking about. At once this can sound both obvious and easy, and incredibly difficult or even impossible. But you can break it down – think about your business and all the little moments where customers interact with you. How can you make it special? Think Dunkin Donuts: they took a simple business of selling donuts and put the “making” of those donuts out in front of the customers. That’s all they changed to make the good (“these are delicious donuts”) into the remarkable (“these are the freshest donuts, I can even see them make them!”) It seems obvious now, but it wasn’t at the time. The same can be true for you. It may be hard to think of now, but it’s worth the effort.
3. Make it easy for them to share. As marketers we love to fine-tune our positioning statements and get everything just right (guilty as charged), but the most powerful positioning statements are clear-cut. For example: “I love Zappos because I can trust them” and “This hotel gives me free phone minutes.” Those statements are easy to repeat and easy to share. Focus on getting these messages out there and amplifying them! Another way to make it easy for customers to talk about you is making the method of sharing easy. A hotel giving me free minutes, simple yet remarkable, means I get on the phone and tell my friends and family I was able to call them because of the free minutes. Easy. Find ways to make talking about you quick and easy and your customers will do the rest.
By pulling together those three elements, Andy says businesses of any size can activate word of mouth marketing and be successful at it. What do you think?
* But don’t take it from me, pick up your own copy of “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking” and connect with Andy Sernovitz at WordOfMouth.org or on his blog, DamnIWish.com.