Thursday, November 29, 2007

Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-Mouth marketing (WOMM) is apparently the next big thing, or at least that's what people are buzzing about. And WOMM, well, it's all about the buzz. Known by consumers as the most trusted source of information on products and services, WOMM can either make or break the reputation of a company.

When you have unhappy customers, they are going share their grievances with everyone they know. Ever heard of the "250 rule" coined by Joe Girard? It states that every person knows at least 250 people. So when a customer complains, 250 people will know about it. Then, any number of those 250 people will tell the 250 people they know, and on and on and on. So it all comes down to... are you willing to risk hundreds of people talking negatively about you because of one disgruntled customer?

When it comes to creating a campaign around WOMM, it should be treated just as importantly as any other piece of your marketing mix. It doesn't cost anything and positive buzz is the best advertising you can get. So are you investing time into creating a WOMM campaign?

Imagine walking into an office. There is no receptionist in sight and you stand there a good five minutes before you see her. She looks grumpy and doesn't even say hello. She starts writing something down on a piece of paper and finally looks up at you and asks you what you want (in so many words). You get the feeling you're bothering her.

The next day you walk into another place of business. A man with a friendly demeanor greets you as soon as you step inside and asks how you are. You are instantly at ease and feel welcomed. Now, which place would you like to go back to? Which place are you going to talk positively about to your friends and family?

What networking have you done today? Better yet, how many networking groups are you a part of? You need to be out there in the community, building relationships and building other's trust in you. Then, they'll be happy to talk about you, and just how great your product is!

Remember back in high school when clicks ruled? Well it's time to create a click again. A business click, that is. For example, take a group of businesses that cater to weddings. A florist, baker, jeweler, wedding planner, etc. They are all non-competing and can work together as a group to give the customer everything she wants. They can also refer each other out to customers. When you do this, you have a number of businesses promoting you for free.

Remember with WOMM, it's all about the face-to-face with people. It's about creating goodwill in the community and keeping your customers happy. Can you afford to do anything otherwise?

Laura Schutz

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