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June 27, 2006

Word-of-Mouth Marketing Ideas. Some Worthy. Some Worthless.


UPDATED | July 14, 2006

>>WOMMA has posted a PDF version of these 43 Word-of-Mouth Marketing Ideas complete with attributions.


After some prodding, Spike Jones (not be confused with this Spike Jones, nor that Spike Jonze) runs the WOM voodoo down by offering his “worthy”/“worthless” opinion on the 40+ Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing ideas offered during a panel discussion at WOMABT2.

The panel promised 40 actionable word-of-mouth marketing ideas in 40 minutes and according to Spike, some ideas were worthy while others were worthless.

I’m just doing a scalpel/suture (copy/paste) maneuver by lifting Spike’s work directly from the Brains on Fire Blog. (Yes, I’m pimpin’ the Brains blog again. Add it to your RSS feed already!)

Take some time to read through all of these ideas (even the worthless ones) because they will help kickstart your company's foray into WOM.



SOURCE: Spike Jones posting from Brains on Fire (June 26, 2006)

1. If you train your sales force in the ways of evangelism, they become better recruiters. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but not exactly a “go home and implement” tool.

2. Make it easy for people to find you and tell people about you.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

3. Create a market advisory council.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

4. Use interesting stories to bring your WOM topics to life.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – your identity should already do that.

5. Encourage your brand champions to tell two friends about you, not just one.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – Give them something to talk about

6. Do something unexpected and generous for your customers — send a free product (include an extra for them to pass along to a friend) just for being a valued customer.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but you don’t have to bribe your customers, just surprise and delight

7. Identify influentials using online social networking sites.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, depending on your views of “influentials”

8. Reach the influencers that don’t raise their hand.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS

9. Create experiences around your products and services.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

10. Be an evangelist for your evangelists (Send them framed versions of case studies you’ve
done with them, blog about them, show them off in your newsletters.)

SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

11. Use a memorable collectible as a dinner table centerpiece with the winner’s sticker on the bottom of their chair.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is just a sad gimmick, not a WOM tool

12. Give your audience business card holders packed with ‘tell-someone’ referral cards.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – another bad giveaway gimmick

13. It’s not just marketing: embed WOM into your sales culture.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but not take home actionable.

14. Use humor or “did you know” language to help consumers feel like they have something funny or unique to add to the conversation.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS

15. Ask your customers to talk about you.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is WOM creationism!

16. Hide it. Discovery is a trigger for WOM, so make your tool or marketing message hard to find and you’ll create something people will want to talk about and share.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

17. Leverage provocative content to make everyday product talk-worthy.
SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHY

18. Ensure you get the best ideas by engaging your WOM agency early in a paid consulting role.
SPIKE SAYS:WORTHLESS as a WOM tool, but great advice nonetheless!

19. Make friends with some bloggers (they don’t even have to be famous).
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY – but I would add, “and don’t ask them for favors.“

20. Give your evangelists something to talk about.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

21. Give out your marketing collateral in something noticeable that gets people talking.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – another gimmick

22. Create a story and let consumers share their best stories of interactions with your product or service.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

23. Create a VIP customer pool and use it.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

24. Make it easy for people to easily spread the word about you (Create a button for their blog or web site, a card or CD they can pass along to a friend, or build a ‘tell a friend’ option.)
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

25. Release exclusive content (”insider information”) and let your avid customers react and interact with it.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

26. Create clever 30-second virals and post to your home page.
SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHY – in this day and age of viral saturation, it’s gonna have to be either really great or really relevant to be effective.

27. Take a cue from gossip rags such as InFocus or US Weekly and use surveys to add interesting facts to your WOM stories.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is just a tiny add-on.

28. Let your customers create — provide ways to make it easy for consumers to customize and show off their creativity.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

29. Use ‘free or low-charge’ release services to announce new products and services like Soflow, 24-7 PR, PR Leap, PR Free.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is cheep PR, not WOM.

30. Let your evangelists know you’re listening. (Comment on their blogs, invite them to webinars or to your office for a VIP Tour and to meet the product or service teams, schedule meet-ups in cities and invite your customers to attend).
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

31. Measure results, not actions.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY – a lot of WOMM is touchy-feely, which is important, but we’re also here to drive sales.

32. Put the right tools in the hands of your most influential consumers to help them tell your story.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

33. Bring your most loyal customers on the inside by involving them in your product development or marketing initiatives.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

34. Poll your sales force for good closing stories, then edit and distribute to use as testimonials.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS as far as WOM goes, but a good idea.

35. Create a customer community of your most loyal customers.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

36. If you’re going to give something away for free, focus on quality merchandise that influencers value and seed it in the places they naturally frequent.
SPIKE SAYS: Barely WORTHY

37. Set the table for WOM to occur by giving your customers tools to initiate it.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

38. Join in the conversation (and start one if needed).
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

39. Tap into people’s sociability to propel WOM.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but how?

40. Identify “portable conversations” to give your advocates something to talk about.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS

41. Use the Buddy System and partner with your evangelists to work together on bigger projects.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but I think this same idea is listed above?!?

42. Partner with evangelists and create opportunities for them to sing your praises.
SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY

43. Print referral cards which customers can give to their friends.
SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHLESS



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Comments

Thanks for the prodding, doctor. I couldn't have done it without ya. How did I do, anyway?

Alas, I am the lowliest of the Spike Joneseses.

Spike ... my original plan was to add counter-takes to your "worthy"/"worthless" takes but I found myself agreeing on all 43 of your takes. Thus, I simply copied and pasted it with a little setup. (A setup that I managed to include a sly Miles Davis reference.)

John, very good post.

People talk about things that are unique and different from what we already know. Thus a company needs to be just that in order to create WOM.

Great post
Thanks JOhn and Spike Jones
I also dugg the story here
http://digg.com/business_finance/40_Actionable_Word-of-Mouth_Marketing_Ideas_From_WoM_Guru

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