Originally blogged from my WordPress.
Even with network TV, there’s something to watch just about every night of the week: So You Think You Can Dance on Wed./Thurs.; How I Met Your Mother on Mon.; and NCIS on Tues. I’m a sucker for TV, even the ‘uncool’ shows. So recently, I’m trying something new… reading.
I just finished Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz. Andy founded WOMMA (WOMMAssociation) and consults with companies about… well WOMM. Honestly, I wouldn’t have picked up the book had it not contained a foreword by Seth Godin and afterword by Guy Kawasaki. (Shows you how much I know about WOMM.)
The book was a breeze. I don’t think it necessarily covered any topic that I didn’t already know. BUT its huge accomplishment, and why I’m now a Sernovitz fan, is Andy’s ability to tie random communications tips and theories into a comprehensive framework. I learned how one-off techniques play into an entire WOMM strategy, that when done right, will bring genuine results and interest to your product/service. That’s only part I of the book. Part II delves into actual program set ups, short and sweet case studies and action, action, action. Treat this book as WOMM 101, just the basics. (Andy actually writes out word of mouth marketing- sans hyphens, but I hope WOMM will work just fine in this instance as well.)
I won’t divulge the book; you’ll have to read it (and if you share with 9 of your friends… hello, discount!). I won’t even go into the simple theories that Andy lays out. Instead, here are my favorite 3 take-aways:
- BE HONEST: always disclose any affiliation you have with any company, when talking about them. People will find out. You will look like an ass. It’s hard to wash the “ass” stamped on your forehead.
- After studying Southwest in case studies in college, people are still talking about their amazing customer service- which is key.
- Adding “tell a friend” helps talkers help you. I still remember that Bank of America “offered” both my dad and I $55 each when I signed up for an account. Of course, they never gave my dad the money… (Booo!! Bank of America sucks!! Carry out your word, damn it! You succeeded at tell a friend but failed at the honesty and customer service parts)… but you get the idea.
A slight qualm with the book is that it assumes someone’s already talking about you. I wish Andy would discuss more about buzz generation, when there isn’t already a pool of customers or fanatic fans out there. How do you build that fan base? Especially for a company who’s product is completely new? Every other start-up has a beta, so how do you get yours noticed? The follow up being, as more and more companies offer user-based incentives (discount codes, friends & family coupons, betas, etc.), how do you cut through the clutter? What’s the ‘next-best-thing’ if you will, or is it just about carrying out strategy better than those around you?
While I wait patiently for Andy to one day find this blog post (*wink*), you should probably check the WOMMA website to find more up-to-date information.
Postscript: since Word of Mouth Marketing is about well… word of mouth, here’s my ‘talking’ moment:
People often gripe about AT&T, especially after the release of the iPhone last year, when they were forced to sign a two year contract. So many argued, “I’d buy an iPhone… only if I didn’t have to sign with AT&T.
AT&T has their issues, but here’s why I’m loyal:
My DSL service was having some technical problems. On and off for a week, I just couldn’t get service. After a few calls to the center, where I remained cooperative and polite, I asked about the cancellation policy. A customer retention person (sorry, I forgot your name!) quickly came on the line, apologized, sent over a tech person for free and gave me a semi-permanent $10/month off per bill AND $60 rebate for the trouble (that’s basically 2 months free for ya’ll Comcast & dial-up users). Of course, I enjoyed the $10 off and service returned back to normal. With AT&T, I always expected to fight about the measly $60.
So I called today. The customer service rep was incredibly polite, answered my questions, congratulated me on my “insider” pricing and informed me that the $60 had already been returned to my acct, since I wasn’t charged for March or April. How about them apples?!?