WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING
By Stuart Leventhal
Word of Mouth Advertising; everyone in business and marketing is always talking about that all elusive WORD OF MOUTH advertising! Marketers, advertisers, business owners; we all know the awesome strength behind WORD OF MOUTH Promotion. People just walking around town telling everyone they meet how wonderful your business is!
That is HUGE! And, as an added bonus; you are not even paying a single cent!
How can you beat free publicity? With more free publicity!
“But wait a second!” One biz professional sitting the front row of my seminar interrupts.
“Yeah, just hold your horses!” Another listener a few rows back joins the band wagon.
I should mention that there were a lot of marketing, advertising and sales professionals attending this particular seminar whose tuition had been paid for by their respected corporate home offices. All week long these know-it-all’s and self-proclaimed promotional wizards had been bouncing around, strutting their feathers, trying to impress the small business owners and managers also in attendance by interrupting and interjecting their misguided knowledge and untimely wit into the talks and basically heckling my fellow speakers.
This particular loud mouth barked as if he was the official marketing industry watch dog. “I have been in the Ad Business for years and WORD OF MOUTH Advertising cannot be bought…”
A cocky, handsome, blond haired local radio station ad representative who started as a radio DJ but never really made it past local small town celebrity status stood up to add. “…Nor is WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING something that can be forced or ever controlled!”
“Yeah,” An annoyed marketing self-declared internet whiz kid stood up to claim his few seconds of fame. “He means, where there is good WORD OF MOUTH there can also be bad WORD OF MOUTH!”
The first audience bully, not about to let these hacks butt in to steel his thunder stood up then turned around to address my audience with a swagger of even more authority adding. “Word of mouth promotion has always been the Holy Grail of marketing. But, it is not something that you can package and sell in a bottle!”
“Very good!” I interjected startling the audience back into reality and embarrassing my heckler into turning around grinning quite satisfied as he confidently re-sat. “Anyone else want to add anything?”
Not quite ready to let me off the hook yet, the blond Disc Jockey huffed. “You cannot force WORD OF MOUTH publicity! It just happens Man!” He sat quite satisfied with his own little performance. “It just happens!”
To my astonishment a sharp dressed woman sitting in one of the very back rows stood up raising her hand. “Yes Mamm?” I pointed to her.
“Word of Mouth advertising is brought about by running a fantastic business, outstanding in every single way possible and then and only then will people feel like telling all their friends and family members to go check out your business.”
“Wow!” I answer clapping. “That is a good definition, thank you.” I looked a few of the audience members in the eye. “Who else?” I challenged. “Do not be shy.”
An older slightly balding, paunchy businessman who I happened to know was a local bank executive stood twisting his tie then abruptly added. “The problem I see with WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING, young man, is that it takes a long, long time to kick in and your business can be long out of business if you try to rely on Word of Mouth Advertising all by itself! It is obviously fantastic when you can get it but I would not recommend sitting around holding ones breath waiting for her to show up.”
“Ah Hah!” I announced. “Now we are getting to the meat of the matter!” I lifted my microphone off its stand. “We all know what WORD OF MOUTH Advertising is. We all agree its value is priceless. But, other than that we know very little else!” I stared my audience down. “We know we want it! But, we have no idea how to create it! Harness it! Or steer WORD OF MOUTH in the direction we want it to go! And after all, that is the key is it not?”
None of my hecklers wanted to take that one on, so I continued. “The big question is; can we as business professionals, afford to just go on ignoring WORD OF MOUTH Advertising. I mean really, let us make no bones about this; there is no advertising, marketing or promotional concept more powerful than WORD OF MOUTH period!” I paused to let that sink in. “Now, as far as our business obligations are concerned, can we allow any marketing concept, especially one as influential as WORD OF MOUTH to control her own destiny and just run amuck like a bull in a china shop!”
“Now Folks, that is dangerous! Especially now, that the internet makes it so easy to share negative info about everything from companies to products to celebrities’ personal lives. Yet 99.999% of you have been allowing WORD OF MOUTH Promotion to run its own campaign for years!”
“There is nothing we can do.” Someone defended.
I ignored the heckler. “Online gossiping or BAD ‘Word of Mouth’ has been taken to the art form level. Bloggers the world over embrace gossiping, showing no guilt, remorse or mercy when it comes to using the attention getting strength of being obnoxious and controversial for getting a cheap laugh and making a quick buck at the expense of another’s humiliation or demise.” I glanced at one of my hecklers. “Sharing the ‘bad word’ has always been enjoyable for the general public. Humans for some bizarre reason take pleasure at learning others of their species have fallen out of grace.” I made a point of glancing at another of my hecklers until he squirmed in his seat. Revenge is sweet.
“Now, the internet has spawned a slew of business review and opinion websites which encourage our shoppers to take part in the fun making it easy for anyone to slander a business virtually at will. No enterprise is immune! Just look at the Online Reputation Management Industry and how she has exploded these past few years. Reputation Management companies are charging small fortunes for the cleaning up of negative publicity both on and off the web. Can you see how Reputation Management is simply, just damage control for Bad WORD OF MOUTH Marketing?!”
“But, when bad press rears her ugly head…” The woman in the back asked sounding defeated. “What else can we do except damage control, to the best of our ability?”
“We strike first and we strike fierce!” I shouted. “The best defense is a great offence!”
“Every company has word of mouth publicity going on to some degree. Yes, people talk about everyone and everything. You, your company and your company’s products and services are all fair game for unsolicited conversations now and again; at the bus stop, water cooler, in break rooms, during online chatter, virtually anywhere even in the checkout line of one of your competitors. Conversations are going to occur. We need to control the grape vine and everything that is being said on the grapevine about us and our companies! Something this important calls for a plan of action!”
Word of mouth advertising is more effective than newspaper ads, radio ads or even TV advertising so why do we budget, plot and plan for traditional advertising but not word of mouth? Because we do not know how it works nor how to create it!
So, how do we create good word of mouth promotion?
A HAPPY CREW
Word of mouth advertising starts surprisingly in house! It begins with your happy employees who love working for you and believe in your company telling everyone they bump into how great the place where they work is. If all your employees tell their friends, family and neighbors how great your company is that is the first giant step! They have planted the seed!… Your job is to water that seed so it can grow!
Remember happiness is contagious. Happy employees make happy customers and happy customers are the biggest ingredient to spreading positive WORD OF MOUTH. Keep your crew happy and your crew will keep your customers happy and your customers will tell everyone they meet to go try your company and productrs.
Take part and participate in your community and your community will talk about you like you are one of the family. Do something for the community like sponsoring a charity event and you will gain tons of free publicity and great word of mouth!
If your company is responsible for people having fun, you better believe it will not be long before everyone in town knows about it. Word about FUN spreads like wild fire! Everyone loves fun. Some businesses are better suited for hosting fun events so if your company is in an industry that is not usually associated with fun then you may have to get creative. Perhaps adopting a humorous cartoon like character as your new company mascot and purchasing a quality adult size costume can add the element of FUN to customers during sales and promotional events as well as lightening up company gathering.
Celebrity endorsements are great attention grabbers! Nothing gets more people talking than when a celebrity is spotted.
If you want to keep your company’s name on the tip of everyone’s tongue you have to make it your priority to always be doing something new, unusual and talk worthy. This means always having a busy schedule of unique, creative, upcoming promotional events
Contests always create a BUZZ in the community. Great prizes get people talking! There are so many ways to promote with contests both online and off. Email PHILADELPHIA RESTAURANT CONSULTANT and put ‘word of mouth contests’ as the subject of your E-mail for a free list: email@example.com
Parties are great reasons for people to talk about your business. Everyone loves to talk about parties; upcoming parties, great parties they have been to, parties they heard about. Get creative and come up with reasons for throwing lots and lots of parties and you will have the whole town talking about your business.
Partnering with noncompeting companies who already have great reputations and a good standing in your community to perhaps throw a promotional event will gain you great publicity and elevate your status by association.
An aggressive online marketing campaign full of engaging conversational style posts on multi social media platforms, a company newsletter, blog and entertaining informative website are all great for keeping your company’s name in front of your customers. Setting your internet real estate up so it is easy for your site’s visitors to share your information on their own social sites is the key to gaining lots of good word of mouth publicity via the internet!
*Okay, so we now know we can influence word of mouth marketing in a number of innovative ways all it takes is some creativity to make ourselves news worthy or worth talking about. It goes without saying that all our hard promotion work will go down the drain if we do not make sure we always have the very best quality products and services. Remember great products and services are by themselves reasons for customers to spread the word about your company. But if your company is not up to par people will spread the word about that too!
TIP – The people most likely to spread the good word about your business are your current loyal customers. Do something extra special for your regulars who are already in love with your company and they will spread your praise to the masses!
SUPER TIP – Make a list of all the most influential people in your community; sports heroes, media celebrities, politicians and club presidents. Create a special customized plan for gaining each of them as a customer. Get creative and go all out! Landing the head of the PTA could mean a lot of word of mouth publicity!
SUPER DUPER TIP – Find as many ways to tell your current customers that you are just thinking of them, without openly soliciting more business. Sending thank you cards and special gifts, birthday cards and holiday cards are a start but only the tip of the ice burg. Send your customers fun surveys then on a later date after they have forgotten all about the answers they wrote on the surveys tailor a small ‘thank you for being our customer’ gift just for them based on their answers in the surveys.
*Always Remember promotion is supposed to be FUN!
For cutting edge marketing tips that increase sales and profit plus get your customers and community talking about you and your company, E-mail Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant the details of your special project, problem or promotional situation: firstname.lastname@example.org
*No problem is too tough for PHILADELPHIA RESTAURANT CONSULTANTS!