We wrote this over a decade ago, and ever since we’ve been discovering and inventing new ways to organize and inspire word-of-mouth in social networks and beyond. Enjoy!
We’ve all heard the expression, “Word of mouth is the best advertising.” We’ve seen brands built seemingly on strong word-of-mouth alone. But what’s harder to see is the contribution of strong word-of-mouth to brands with significant traditional advertising budgets.
Two hundred million dollar advertisers with negative word-of-mouth are not uncommon, and without fail the word-of-mouth negates the advertising. On the other hand, strong word-of-mouth will multiply a budget, making $15 million work like $150 million. Just consider Starbucks, Crunch Fitness, and JetBlue Airways.
How can you manage word-of-mouth? Start with your heaviest, most loyal users and turn them into Brand Advocates. These are people so passionate about the brand they can’t help but express themselves in your support. Know them. Know what they’re saying. Use planning to learn their word-of-mouth strategies for advocating the brand. Then devise programs to support those strategies.
If you want to run a first class marketing organization, benchmark against the category leader. Right?
Look at your category and you’re likely to see this common landscape: A market-share leader whose marketing is effective and probably conservative; a host of other players who more or less imitate the marketing tactics of the market leader; and then, maybe, one “challenger” who is the “idea leader” in the category.
Time and the market have proven that these idea leaders frequently become share leaders. Look at Charles Schwab in the brokerage category. Or Southwest and JetBlue among airlines.
The “idea leader” road is not for the faint of heart, but it’s more likely to succeed than shadow marketing the share leader. Besides, it’s a lot more fun.
We try to be good children. We have a report card of As and Bs and one C, and we focus on how to turn the C into a higher grade.
What’s wrong with us? Well, perhaps it starts with a question, What’s wrong with us. A better question is what’s different about us? And who can that matter and how?
The stone cold marketing fact is that it works much better to be different than better.
Would you rather be The Ground Round or Hooters, assuming business success were criteria. Let’s face it, there are a lot of restaurants offering greasy fries, dark decor and lots of undercooked beef.
But how many mammary-themed restaurant chains are there? (more…)
Growth Key: FLYING IS LIFESTYLE.
Built a successful partnership between these two great lifestyle/entertainment brands.