Word of mouth is bigger than tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It's more than viral videos, expensive campaigns, and big PR stunts. Real word of mouth is a philosophy, not a tactic.
True word of mouth marketers know it's about earning the respect and recommendation of your customers — it's something you build into everything you do. The next time somebody tries to sell you on a high-dollar digital campaign, remember that real love is earned, not bought.
5 big questions that will lead you to true word of mouth:
1.) Who will talk about us?
Every successful word of mouth program begins with a focus on who will talk about you. It's not always your customers. Don't forget industry influencers, your strategic partners, your neighbors — they're all potential talkers and they're where it all starts.
2.) How do I take this beyond the marketing department?
The mission of earning the respect and recommendation of your customers shouldn't be confined to the marketing team. When it's a company-wide philosophy — when everyone from the CEO to the front-line customer service reps are working together to astonish customers with amazing products and services — that's when you're on your way to building real word of mouth.
3.) What's next?
This helps you determine the difference between a one-off stunt and a program that's got long-term potential to build relationships. Word of mouth works best when it's designed to build momentum with each new loyal fan you earn.
4.) Would this trick my mother?
Scam-ball, sleaze-filled trickery is not the way to earn love from customers. Hiding relationships between you and your talkers, paying for reviews that aren't true, setting up fake accounts to hide your identity — it's not only unethical, it's illegal. If your mom were to read something and not understand that it's a paid ad, you're lying to your mother.
5.) Would anyone tell a friend about this?
This is a question that changes companies. Put it on a sticky note on your monitor, a poster in your conference room — anywhere it will remind you to ask that if it's not worth telling a friend about, why are you doing it?
Andy Sernovitz is the author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking and is CEO of GasPedal , a company that teaches word of mouth to brands of all sizes.
PS Want to learn more about earning the respect and recommendation of your customers? Join Andy and 30 other brilliant word of mouth marketers for Word of Mouth Supergenius <http://gaspedal.com/supergenius> on December 16 in Chicago. Marketing Minute fans can take $128 off registration with the code: THISGUYDREWRULES