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WOMM - Word of Mouth Marketing

MarketeerMarketeer subscriber Posts: 2
edited January 2007 in Marketing
I`m writing this from an uncomfortable chair in a conference room in San Francisco. I`m at WOMMA`s (Word of Mouth Marketing Association`s) conference to discuss Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) with 300 other companies. I just heard that "69% of Americans are interested in products and services tat would help them block marketing." People don`t trust marketing or advertising any longer.
I have found this to be true in my business and am proud to say that 30% of my new customers come from customer referrals. I`d like to move that number up. We will do that by creating a remarkable interaction with our customers and helping them be successful.
I`d like to begin a conversation about what different types of experiences other businesses have had with customer referrals. Is your business one that creates "evangelists" for your company? Why? How?


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    keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Nick and all:
    Great comments so far and I agree with them all. It`s all about the customer feeling a "WOW". When you WOW the customer, they remember it. They then do WOMM for you. Disney does it day in and day out. You look around their properties and they are spotless - no trash anywhere. People always there to help you. You return from a Disney trip with that WOW feeling. You tell others and the WOMM continues - just like it is planned (and it is).
    The Ritz-Carlton Hotel group does it. If you`ve ever stay in a Ritz, you know what I mean. From the moment you arrive, they call you by your name. Mention to anyone something like you are there for your anniversary - there will be someone bringing something special to your room. The bartender remembers your favorite drink. Anything you need, they will make sure you have it. The WOW factor. WOMM continues.
    Every business and company can build WOW into their service or product offering. When you do build in WOW, customers remember it and they tell others - and the WOMM continues and builds and builds. It works.
    One WOW I have always used (and we have talked about this practice before on the forum) is sending greeting cards to my customers. I also teach and encourage my clients to do the same for their customers. Build your database to include birthdays, anniversaries, and even the kid`s birthdays (if appropriate for your business). Send cards on these occassions. Had a great meeting with an important client, send them a card and thank them. Nothing brings a smile to someone`s face like a greeting card - a note of appreciation, a word of encouragement, congratulations on a promotion ... whatever. If you get into the habit, it pays off 100 times in return benefits. It is a very simple and easy WOW factor to implement in any business. I have 15 years of proof that it works. And there are many, many sales people who have learned this trick over the years. It works. Learning to harness the power of the personal touch is something all business people should learn. It is one of the best WOW factors I have learned in my business life.
    I am so passionate about the personal touch and creating customer evangelists that I sought out and found an online system that allows any person the capability to send out cards easily and quickly - and for less than cards sell at retail. And it can be done from your desktop, on your computer - anytime and anywhere - within minutes. 
    sendoutcards.com, but I don`t use or promote the system thinking I will get rich. I promote and use the system because of the WOW factor it creates and it is an easy and quick way to touch the customer and create WOMM. It works.
    If you`re interested to learn more, visit the keycon@mindspring.com</A>.
    Thanks - R@
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    RichRich administrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    word of mouth, most of all, i think is spread when people have a particularly special experience, or feel particularly clever or smart or trendy about something. a lot of my ideas about this come from the legendary book, "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell.
    my WOM story (just shared with my friends in the "startupbucks" thread) has to do with Starbucks.
    this past week on the way to the duquesne university keynote jeff and i did, i sat next to a "trainer" from starbucks. she handles the great lakes region. she totally impressed me with her love of her work and her love of life. we exchanged business cards. the next week i got an email from her asking how the speech went. "wow," i thought, "that was very thoughtful."
    i emailed back saying the speech was great and thanks so much for asking. then i joked that i walked the dogs up to one of her locations here in michigan on the weekend and the line was out the door! so i turned away. i was trying to pay her a compliment. two days later, i get a $25 Starbucks Card in the mail apologizing for the inconvenience. then my "wow" became a "WOW!!!"
    my point in sharing all of this is, well, that she so impressed me that... i`m sharing this! and that`s how word of mouth just happens.
    this trainer from starbucks was perfection from a customer service/customer loyalty standpoint. if we as entrepreneurs want to make a success out of our businesses, we should be willing to go the extra mile and make a great impression on our customers. make them feel special, smart, clever, privileged, progressive. it pays off in so many ways - just look at this word of mouth she`s caused...
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    keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Rich - great example! Thanks for sharing. People remember the WOW!
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    LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    ...word of mouth, most of all, i think is spread when people have a particularly special experience, or feel particularly clever or smart or trendy about something. I always remember what a marketing professor told a class I was in 30+ years ago.  To paraphrase (with my foggy mind this morning): "Word of mouth will be your best form of advertising - it will also be your worst."He explained that (in those pre-Internet days) it was estimated that the average person came into contact with up to 250 different people each week in the course of their daily adventures.  Those 250 interactions offered many opportunities for a person to discuss recent business or customer service experiences - and people were much more likely to discuss negative experiences.I assume the possible impact of word-of-mouth is greatly magnified in our cyber-crazed and cell-phone connected world today.Over the years, I`ve thought about his comments often.  Being an optimist, I expect to have good experiences with the vast majority of businesses I deal with throughout a given week in my business and personal life.  I don`t think I go out of my way to share most of those good experiences with others.  However, what I consider bad experiences tend to be really bad, and I do share that information freely with those I talk to in the course of my activities  - often to hopefully prevent them from having a similar experience.  A positive experience most often has be extraordinary (the "WOW!") for me to tell others about a specific situation.- J.
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    coffeenetscoffeenets subscriber Posts: 0
    You can bet I don`t trust advertising anymore...I pay very close attention to what my friends are using and I go with the same.  Sometimes it`s a price issue, sometimes it`s a customer service issue, and sometimes it`s a product issue.  But I know what my friends look for and I look for the same.  So looking at the products they talk about  far surpasses any commercial and what it can tell me.As an example...I have seen quite a few commercials lately for a particular cellular company claiming they have the best network with the fewest dropped calls.  Everytime I see that commercial, anybody near me that hasn`t heard me say it hears that I hate that company.  They dropped 10 times more of my calls than any other company I had dealt with.  Then that comment leads into all of the other problems I`ve had with the company and I always wind up finishing off my praising my currenty cellular company.Since I`m suddenly busy talking about commercials, what does it mean when a commercial says you can save up to $100 and more?  Isn`t that like saying you could save any amount of money?  I don`t ever contact those companies because their advertising seems a bit fishy to me.  However, if a friend told me they saved just about $100 with that company...then sure...I`ll give them a call.
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    admanadman subscriber Posts: 3
    Whenever I hear someone say they aren`t influenced, don`t pay attention to, or don`t trust advertising I usually find that they do and don`t realize it.
    Noone has ever "trusted" advertising messages and Word of Mouth has always been the best (and worst) form of promotion (see my site for why WOM isn`t advertising)
    The reality is that Advertising does work when done right.  It`s a billion dollar industry.  Companys LARGE and small spend large percentages of their operating capital on it because it does work.  If it didn`t they wouldn`t.
    If you ever see or hear a commercial or read a print advertisement and think to yourself "why would they waste their money saying this"  you can be sure that you`re not their target market.
    Well Conceived advertising accelerates WOM promotion by increasing the company`s customer base.  It`s like spinning a flywheel.   
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    iouone2iouone2 subscriber Posts: 14
    adman,I truly agree. Advertising is not going anywhere. It does work. And it is about making ads that specifically hit your target market. I do think however, many smaller companies believe they know their target market, when in fact they don`t. Professional research is called professional because the common guy/gal doesn`t get it. The larger our businesses get, the more we (business owners) should look into effectively addressing our target market.
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    admanadman subscriber Posts: 3
    funny you should mention it I happen to offer those services exclusively for small business owners...priced for small business owners.
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    RioToursAdventuresRioToursAdventures subscriber Posts: 0
    I do believe in the mouth to mouth propaganda. I am a tour guide in Brazil, and most of my guests are from USA, I have welcomed friends and members of their families in Brazil, especially in Rio.
    Please feel free to contact me if you want to know everything about Brazil!;)
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    YoungWealthMarketingYoungWealthMarketing subscriber Posts: 0
    I think that word of mouth is one of the most cost effective and overall best ways to build a business. Traditional advertising is becoming less and less effective due to technologies like Tevo, DVR`s, satellite radio that allow people to avoid commercials. Think about it the do not call list has put many telemarketers out of business and even companies that do direct mailing are starting to disappear. One of the reasons I chose to add a network marketing company to my list of business`s was I saw that major companies like Cingular, Dish Network, Disney Citibank and GE were beginning to form direct partnerships with these types of companies. Word of mouth is the way to go!Brock Keenwww.youngwealthmarketing.com
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    starpointestarpointe subscriber Posts: 2
    Adman has a very good point.  Although I agree with most of the major points made on this thread, there is one thing I think should be made clear...there is no such thing as "Word-of-mouth marketing".  Marketing by definition is planned communication.  Everything about it is planned, the purpose, the price, the medium, the location, the message, etc.  Although "word-of-mouth communication" is a very valuable method for receiving information, it is not a form of marketing.  The purpose of marketing IS often to promote good word-of-mouth communication though so most of the points made here are still very valuable.  
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    AddassaMariAddassaMari subscriber Posts: 2
    Advertisers have an expression "noise" which refers to distractions and similar advertisements.  One sure way to cut through the clutter is to use a sharp knife and WOW is a very effective way. Five interpersonal factors -culture/subculture, reference group, social classes, opinion leaders and family- influences customers behaviour and WOW is an important source of  social communications among them. 
    There is great value in WOW advertising, a wonderful way to stretch advertising dollars.
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    PokermanPokerman subscriber Posts: 5
    When I am about to purchase a new product I now routinely do a google search on the brand in a phrase like "Epson Sucks" (220,000 entries)...  You can quickly find out what the company`s marketing department  DOESN`T WANT YOU TO KNOW.
    Word of mouth positive or negative is invaluable from a consumer`s standpoint.Pokerman2007-1-4 17:53:41
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    iouone2iouone2 subscriber Posts: 14
    Good or bad, you have to always be aware of fraudulent claims. That`s from the seller or the user. For an example, did you know there are people out there whom complain that the DVD Video Game they bought plays poorly on their computer. They will push all sorts of negative comments about the game... they never mention the game plays with a specific amount of free memory, they never do mention there system wasn`t up to par.But yes Pokerman... You can learn a lot from a quick search.
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    pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
    Interesting discussion so far. Let me throw my two cents in. I`ve done extensive research in the area of referral selling, which is a segment of WOM, and how the true million dollars a year sales superstars--that includes salespeople, professionals, and small business owners--generate their huge volume of referral business.

    One of the most discouraging statistics is that less then 85% of all salespeople, professionals and small businesses generate enough high quality referrals to significantly impact their business (i.e., at least 25% of actual new clients coming from referrals). Yet, those who have succeeded in learning how to create a relationship with the customer/client that results in them receiving a large number of actual quality referrals (as opposed to someone just mentioning to another person they had a good experience with XYZ company or salesperson) make, on average, four to five times more than what the average salesperson, professional or business in their industry make.

    But these superstars run their buisnesses differently than the average business. They don`t rely on WOM, they very proactively develop a specific relationship with the customer/client where they get specific referrals to individuals or decision makers who actually need or want the product or service. These aren`t just names and phone numbers of just anyone, but are real prospects. Their prospecting is done almost exclusively in their database.

    Their techniques and strategies are pretty bold, but they work. They let the client know right up front they expect to get referrals; they define for the client exactly what a referral for them is; they discuss with the client exactly what the client`s expecatations and priorities are--and then do everything possible to meet exactly that; they sit down with the client after the sale for a meeting only about referrals; and they use a number of different ways to contact the referred prospect based on the trust and respect relationship the referrer has with the prospect (since they are trying to build their relationship with the prospect on the back of the trust and respect the prospect has for their client--or lack thereof). They also have gotten to know their client/customer well enough to know what organizations they belong to, who they worked for in the past, etc., so if the client doesn`t have any referrals, the salesperson can ask about being referred to specific people the client may know that the salesperson wants to be referred to.

    This is, of course, a highly personal relationship and works best with certain types of businesses--personal and professional services (financial planning, accounting, consulting, graphic design, insurance, real estate sales, etc.), higher dollar corporate purchases, and the like; but many of the these mega-sellers work in areas that might surprise you--furniture sales, auto sales, corporate auto and truck leasing, wedding and party planning and services, mens business attire for a major department store, hospitality sales, travel agents and others.

    It takes learning their technqiues and strategies and then perfecting them, but the results can change a career or business. And on top of it all, not only is it the most efficient way to gain new clients/customers, it just happens to be the most cost effective also.
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