Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Word-of-Love Marketing(TM)

Our team at KudosWorks have known and have evangelized for a while now that the most ideal word of mouth unit is the testimonial. When you think about it, testimonials from your customers are really the "positive word of mouth units" that are then spread from friend to friend. If you as a company can sufficiently delight your customers, you will no doubt be able to get your customers to provide you with testimonials. But what is even more interesting is that testimonials are really "words of love"TM. As such, your goal is NOT to just get any kind of "word of mouth" happening but rather "words of love" marketing. Passion is contagious, passion is appealing and passion is compelling.

What it means: Ask for testimonials and you shall receive. Word-of-mouth marketing is good but "word-of-love" marketing is even more powerful.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Testimonials.

Every business understands the power of showcasing your testimonials. But go a step further, and consider engaging your customers to self-upload images, audiomonials and videomonials! If pictures are worth a thousand words, then hearing your customer’s voices or seeing a video must be a million words!

You Are What Search Engines Eat.

Search engines eat content. In fact, they devour content. So, don’t just showcase 10-20 testimonials on your Reputation Showcase, show 100, show 500 or show all 1000, whatever you can collect. Every testimonial is yet another web page that can be found by the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN etc). Every word written by a customer is yet another keyword that can direct customers to your company!

A Rolling Testimonial Gathers No Moss.

Once you capture a testimonial, give your customers the tools they need to share their testimonial regarding your company with their friends. Make it easy for them to forward that testimonial, blog that testimonial, export it to their favorite social networking site etc…

With the right tools, every testimonial can be a potential referral. So don't just collect ten testimonials and stop. Get a testimonial from EVERY customer - each one has the potential to be forwarded and shared with his or her friends.

Sometimes A Customer Can Change His Spots.

For most businesses, only a small group of your customers are true Evangelists. It's critical that you engage the majority of your customers, the Passive Amiables to action. This is the group that is happy with your service but is not necessarily inclined to act. This is the group that rated you a 7 or 8 on the scale when asked likelihood of recommendation. That is "highly likely to recommend". Unless you ask that is. It makes sense then to take advantage of every opportunity you might have to ask for testimonials. Always include a link in your email signatures to a testimonial capture page. If you’re an online retailer, consider adding a note requesting for testimonials and referrals in your packages. If you’re a day spa or service provider, hand out cards with a request for action.

Make All Roads Lead To Testimonials

Why testimonials? Because testimonials are the ideal positive word of mouth unit.

Are you doing everything you can to get as much testimonials as you could possibly get? Are you asking for testimonials with every opportunity you have? Do you have a testimonial capture page?

It's 1% Inspiration, 99% Testimonials

After meeting and hearing Scott Ginsberg's presentation at the WOMMA conference last week, I was inspired to think about what is that one word that I would want to be known for. For me, I think I would want to be known as "That guy who is all about testimonials". Why testimonials? Because I firmly believe testimonials is the most important and most undervalued opportunity area for businesses.

In my presentation at the WOMMA conference, I focused specifically on practical ways that businesses can harness testimonials to not only build a reputation showcase but to also accelerate customer-to-friend referrals. As far as I am concerned, capturing testimonials is bar-none the most effective method to build, manage and utilize your reputation showcase and accelerate customer-to-friend referrals.

As part of my talk, I outlined some Word (of Mouth) of Wisdoms. I will list these out in the following posts.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Learn The Basics

A great resource regarding Word of Mouth Marketing has just been launched by WOMMA. If you are a company who wants to know how to grow your word of mouth marketing check out the new WOMBAT blog. It teaches ethical word of mouth marketing the right way with tips, how-to's, and step-by-step lessons.

Also, I will be speaking at the upcoming Word of Mouth Basic Training conference in January at Florida! If you will be there, be sure to meet up with me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Get the customers you want from the customers you have

Great article today explaining how FireFox , the web browser competitor to Internet Explorer, is intending a new marketing push to promote its latest update. What is interesting is how FireFox has recognized that the best way to grow is to first focus on its current happy users and to motivate them to refer them to their friends. Kudos to FireFox. That is precisely what our tool KudosWorks enables. Provide your customers with the tools they need to tell their friends. You won't be dissapointed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who to target first?

A recent article by Fast Company profiles the early beginning and growth of Flickr - the photo-sharing site. This site was launched in Feb 2004 by husband-and-wife Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield (in Vancouver, BC my dear home town I might add). In just 2 short years they have been able to amass more than 250,000 members and 3.5 million photos on its website. While the service enabled users to upload digital photos from computers and camera phones and put together photo albums just like all the other photo sites out there, it was their initial focus on enabling bloggers to post photos to blogs that really kick-started the wild praise.

From the article:
Butterfield and Fake originally met when they were both writing blogs. "We understand their needs," says Fake, "so we started adding blog-friendly features. We were essentially paying for other people's image hosting, and you can blog any photo from the site." Despite no marketing budget, Flickr soon became the talk of the blogosphere.

Targeting the right group first is key to lighting the fire. And just like the post earlier about Robeez, some groups are more apt to refer and recommend than others.

What's really driving your word of mouth?

Netflix is one of those dream companies that has been able to show great growth since its launch in 1999. Many of its customers particularly the early ones helped fuel this growth by their sheer enthusiasm for the service - which is evidently quite infectious. At first blush, when you first examine this remarkable service, the first thing that comes to mind is that perhaps the "No Late Fee" benefit was the primary reason for the enthusiasm of their customers. In fact, Reed Hastings the founder of Netflix is oft quoted as saying that it was his exasperation with a $40 late fee he had to pay when he rented a single movie from the traditional video store that led him to start this new DVD via mail service. Then, when you look at their advertising for the last 5 years, it has all been about "No Late Fees". Is this then the reason why people were compelled to spread the word about Netflix?

Another thought though is perhaps that the real driver of the word of mouth phenomenon for Netflix was not just the "no fee" benefit but rather what I call the "lazy indulgence" benefit. I would imagine that when people get the inspiration to have a "let's just stay home and rent a movie night", this is precisely the time when they really need to just relax and veg out. The last thing they want to do at that moment is get dressed and go out to the video store. With Netflix, the movies arrive by mail and they can watch them when they want and pop it back in the mail to get the next one in line.

Netflix cites that they had to go with No Late Fees as their advertising campaign because the DVD by mail service was just so foreign for most people. It took 5 years before enough people now can easily understand just how Netflix works. In fact, their new advertising campaign they launched this year is now all about "Netflix. There's a movie waiting for you at home."

Lesson to be learned? Your product may offer many benefits - but just which one exactly is the real driver or can be the real driver for generating word of mouth? Don't assume you know...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Does it depend on who your audience is?

Have you heard about this product called Robeez? If you are a recent parent, you likely have. It is quite an amazing story. Sandra Wilson, a young wife and mother in 1994 was let go from her airline job. She noticed that the baby shoes her son Robert (hence the name of the product) were wearing at the time kept falling off. So she went off and created these soft-soled leather shoes - just like mocassins! Since then, her company just took off. Today, her sales are near $15million/year and climbing fast.

What I wonder is what specifically about this product created such word of mouth? Clearly, the product works. The trouble that parents would have to go through continously picking up the shoes almost every 10 minutes or so is just so annoying. I am sure that reason alone is enough to get her customers to go out of their way to tell their friends about this product. But what I also wonder about is whether the type of customers and audience contributed to a greater word of mouth than other products would have.

One theory is that while getting a good fitting shoe is important, it is that much more important particularly for tired and harried new parents. New mothers (and fathers also) are constantly talking to each other seeking for advice and recommendations to make their lives that much more enjoyable. In fact, my wife will tell you that she often strikes up conversation with other moms quite easily. They have a shared bond and an instant connection.

If we buy this theory, then what is the lesson we can learn from this? Is there a way we can better understand our customer base. Is there a way we can engage the different factions of our customer base in different ways to elicit greater word of mouth?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Want Word of Mouth? Start with a remarkable product!

This is probably a good place to start. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you want to be heard, there is no point in trying to come up with some publicity stunt to generate buzz if you don't first have a remarkable product or service. Yes, key to getting out in front of the pack, is to become remarkable. But just having a remarkable marketing is just not enough. First, you must make your product itself remarkable. A great book to read is Seth Godin's Purple Cow. Seth introduces the concept that your product or service must be "remarkable". A cow is a cow... unless you see a purple cow. If that happened, there is no doubt that you will be mentioning that to your friends.

Remarkable marketing will get you a great short-term blip, but without a good product, you won't likely last past the first inning.

One example of this is the current story getting great word of mouth about the a 21 year old college student from England who needs money for books, tuition and socks. So he sells 1 million pixels on a home page for one dollar each. So far, he is received great press from hundreds of blogs, articles from various newspapers and even appearances on most of the TV news outlets. But even the guy himself at his Million Dollar homepage sees this as being a one-time gig and not a sustainable business model.

Compare this to the famous Apple commercial 1984 that definately generated great word of mouth. Particularly because it was uniquely only shown once and never re-ran (as a commercial that is). If Apple did not create products that are remarkable on their own, it is doubtful that they would still be around today.

What do you think? Do you agree with this sentiment? Any examples of products or companies that created a remarkable marketing stunt but is now kapoots?

Another blog is born.

Do you know that feeling you got when your first baby was born? It is such a rush of adrenaline mixed with elation, excitement and wonder. Oddly enough, that is the exact feeling I got when I first started to seriously study word of mouth marketing. The idea first struck me in mid-2000 (coincidently about the same time my daughter was born). I started to notice that almost everything I was trying to achieve was accomplished through word of mouth. We were moving at that time and so we needed to sell our cars, sell our foosball table, find a job, find a home etc etc. Surprisingly, all of those activities were done swiftly and you might even say "elegantly", all through a friend referral or recommendation.

Since that time, I have continued to examine this marketing model that while many would consider as old as time, in many ways it was also quite new and unchartered. I formed my company Genuosity and have since created several tools to attempt to automate, accelerate and motivate word of mouth. Our focus from the beginning has been to create tools for businesses to harness the customer-to-friend referral but also for consumers to be able to obtain trusted referrals. In our minds, the balancing of the two needs are absolutely key.

What is so exciting now is that word of mouth marketing is really starting to take off! We joined WOMMA - the Word of Mouth Marketing Association as Charter members when they just formed in early 2005. But now, the association has a huge following and gaining tremendous momentum. Kudos truly to Andy and team.

That excitement of a newborn about to enter the world is what is truly special. Well enough of this hyperbole. What I will attempt here at this blog is to explore all the wonderful ways word of mouth marketing can be created, accelerated, motivated, automated, measured and deployed. Lets have fun shall we?