Playbook for word of mouth

fizzTed Wright’s new book Fizz (affiliate link) is a fantastic playbook for word of mouth that’s fun to read and easy to connect with your business and how you could take the examples and modify them to work for you.

Wright works hard to demystify this area of organic marketing that seems to create so much confusion and missteps. you’ll appreciate the examples of both what works and what happens when things go really wrong.

No matter what size is your business, you’ll be able to implement the ideas on the book as it explores strategies, techniques, and approaches of building a company and a brand worth talking about.

 

One of the reasons why this playbook for word of mouth isn’t just another fluff book is that Wright has actually had a hand in a lot of the examples and he offers up data like sales results, so you can see that it’s not just about creating buzz but it’s ultimately about creating sales.

This book is entertaining to read but at the end of the day, as Wright says at the opening of his playbook — it will actually help you “sell more stuff to more people more often for more money.”

Hard to argue with that. Get your copy from Amazon here. (affiliate link)

What do you know about our YouthNation?

YouthNationI just finished a new book, YouthNation: Building Remarkable Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture, (click to buy on Amazon – affiliate link) by Matt Britton and found myself nodding, sighing and scribbling notes throughout the read.

You know me…. I like books that give me tangible actionable insights and this book is packed with them.

If you’d like to win a copy — read down to the final paragraph.

Our nation’s youth has collectively transformed from a fringe counter-culture to THE culture of our nation. In doing so youth has become the preeminent driver of all markets, trends, and disruptions, which are rapidly evolving the American business landscape.

This is the new status quo, and youth marketing expert Matt Britton calls it YouthNation.

In YouthNation: Building Remarkable Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture, Britton explains how we got here, where we are headed, and why youth has now become a commodity that’s available to everyone. This commodity transcends industries and demographics, and is the new and unstoppable force behind all innovation and global competitive advantage.

Businesses that want to compete in YouthNation need to understand the technologies and movements sweeping our land. Traditional models no longer apply amidst a new world where revolutions can ignite and enterprises can be created by anyone with an iPhone.

YouthNation provides readers with a playbook that will enable them to survive and thrive in these ever-changing times. Covering all the essential topics of 21st century brand building, this book introduces readers to the power of big data, consumer advocacy, crowdsourcing, the experience economy, content marketing, the peer-to-peer economy, and more. By ommanding these change agents, readers will be able to navigate the complex roadmap of YouthNation to success.

I’m nor sure how you can be involved in marketing today without understanding this phenomenon. The book is a great start.

Matt has graciously given me 3 copies of his new book to give away.  To qualify for my randomizer drawing, just leave a comment below.

Win a copy of Peter Shankman’s book – Zombie Loyalists

zombieMarketing and PR guy Peter Shankman just releases a new book (Zombie Loyalists) that is on a topic that is near and dear to all of us at McLellan Marketing Group.  Given that our tagline is “create a love affair with your customer” the idea of having rabid fans who are a marketing tsunami is clearly one we endorse.

Peter’s book drives home the point with this alarming statistic combination: 80% of companies think they provide superior customer service, and 8% of customers agree.

What that should mean to you is — you can crush your competition if you get this right. (Learn how you can win a copy at the end of this post)

As I’ve said before — I only recommend books that are short on philosophy and high on practical, actionable information.  Peter’s book will show you what’s possible AND show you how he recommends you make it happen.

It’s an easy, entertaining read that will have you jotting down ideas and notes as you read it.  I definitely recommend you pick it up.

Here’s what some others had to say about the book:

“Marketing and PR expert Shankman offers a hilarious, astute, and ultimately practical guide to creating customers so satisfied they’ll promote your company with zombie-like fervor…this entertaining yet valuable work is a must-read for any business owner or executive interested in turning satisfied customers into avid brand ambassadors.”

—Publishers Weekly

“At the end of the day, all business comes down to customer service. If you want to win in the new customer-centric economy, check this book out.”

—Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author, The Thank You Economy

“If anyone in any organization can’t figure out how to create loyal customers after reading this book, then their brains have obviously already been eaten by meat-eating zombies.” 

—Debbie Moren, CEO, Moren Enterprises and Former Disney Customer Service Leader

“Over the years, Peter has created his own Zombie Loyalists, and I count myself as one! Now he is taking you and your business to new levels with his surefire strategies. The world around us has changed, and business must change with it. Your customers are key!”

—Frank Eliason, Author of @YourService

How you can win a copy of the book: Peter generously sent me three extra copies of the book to give away.  To be eligible — simply leave a comment, telling me about a company that has turned you into a Zombie Loyalist and how they did that.

I’ll use random.org to select the winners and announce them here.

Could you have zombie loyalists?

zombiePeter Shankman’s new book Zombie Loyalists — Using Great Customer Service to Create Rabid Fans comes out today and I’m looking forward to reading it on the plane tonight!

If you aren’t familiar with Peter, he’s best known for founding Help a Reporter Out, which changed how journalists and sources interact around the world. This new book is his fourth, and is the follow-up to his best-seller, Nice Companies Finish First. He blogs at Shankman.com, and tweets random hilarity at @petershankman.

Peter always does things in an innovative way, so to celebrate his book’s launch, he released this “customer service constitution.”

What do you think?

We, the people of the Customer Economy, in order to obtain a more perfect customer service experience, do ordain this customer service constitution for a new Customer Service World Order:
 
Section One: The “Network” Knows all that which we do, and will share those experiences, both positive and negative.
 
Section Two: There shall be the court of public opinion to determine which companies deserve a customers’ business. This court shall convene online, offline, and in real-time, at all times. It shall be based solely on the experience any given customer has had with your business.
 
Section Three: Every CEO, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur pledges to put customer service before profits, before revenue, and even before fiduciary responsibility, because they understand that when customer service is tops, profits, revenue, and yes, fiduciary responsibility will all work out better than before.

1) In this new, more perfect customer economy, every business understands that it’s no one’s fault but theirs if their brand isn’t perceived the way they want it to be, and no amount of lying, hiding, or faking will get their brand to where they want it to be.
 
Section Four: The time, place, and manner of providing amazing customer service shall be up to the individual company, but should more than likely include “awesome.” In this new, more perfect customer economy, the brand will understand that “We’re awesome! Buy from us!” is the equivalent of “Hey, I’m awesome, you should leave this bar and come home with me,” and will not implement such tactics. Instead, the brand will put forth their best effort to provide amazing service to each customer even if it’s nothing more than just a smile, and in turn, the customer will turn to their network and share the positive outcome of their experience.
 
Section Five: Each company will be the judge of their own customer service, and decide whether they need to improve for the greater good. As the new Customer Economy expands, customers will be in charge, and the companies and brands that come out on top will understand that, and never think that “eh, we’ll get by,” is enough.
 
1) No company, house, or brand, shall adjourn from their good customer service for more than never, lest their customers go somewhere else.
 
Section Six: Each company and brand shall receive compensation for their services. Such compensation includes increased revenue, happier customers, and higher levels of brand awareness.
 
Section Seven: All new ideas for great customer service shall be formulated by the brand, and approved by the customers, understanding that the customers, and only the customers, control the direction of the company.
 
Section Eight: No company or brand shall enter into any treaty with any other company or brand to deceive, confuse, lie to, or in any other way disconnect from their current customers. Such actions shall be construed as ruining the company or brand’s goodwill, and will lead to their immediate downfall.
 
Section Nine: Every company and brand shall realize that at the end of the day, customers rule, customer service determines the future of the company, and the sentiment of every customer’s tweet, post, or the like, will determine whether or not said company or brand will survive in the new Customer Economy.
 
Signed, on this 27th Day of January, in the Year of our Global Customer Network

More on the book after I finish it!

Your best customers are pure gold

best customersYou’ve heard it before — the top 20% of your customers, your very best customers, account for 80% of your profitability and referrals.  We intellectually know that and yet our behavior sure doesn’t show it.

We spend all kinds of dollars, time, energy and worry chasing after new customers and after someone starts to buy, the typical business sort of forgets all about them.  Much like people’s dating patterns — there’s a lot of wooing that goes on before the wedding but after the “I do’s” get said, the florist goes broke.

Our poor best customers get the same treatment from us and that needs to stop.  We need to shift a portion of our marketing focus away from prospects and invest even more in our best customers — the ones who have already proven that they’ll sing our praises, buy more and more and bring their friends along for the ride.

Fortunately, my friend Stan Phelps has written a book to help us all do just that.  This book, What’s Your Golden Goldfish, is the third book in a trilogy of marketing books that are all built around over 2,200 crowdsourced examples of real life marketing smarts.

This particular book shares over 100 examples of what leading brands like Starbucks, Doubletree, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Virgin Atlantic are doing differently to cater to their best customers and earn even more of their business and loyalty.

The book showcases nine different ways to let your best customers (and employees) know how much you value them. By doing those little extras, you will make your company even stronger.  You will differentiate yourself even more from your competitors, you’ll keep both your best customers and employees longer so they contribute to your success and with every little extra, you will create more word of mouth buzz.

The entire series of books is all built around the idea of lagniappe which is a creole word for “a little something extra.” In this edition — Stan helps his readers explore how organizations large and small can do a little something extra for their most loyal customers and employees.

You’ll love the storytelling but make sure you have a pen and paper handy because this book is going to spark so many ideas that you’ll never remember them all.  And as you implement them — your best customers will reward you with even more buzz, money and referrals.

Sounds like it is going to work out well for everyone, doesn’t it?

If you’re interested in Stan’s entire series, here’s how you can get them from Amazon.  If your an Amazon Unlimited customer, you can read the electronic version for free.  If you want the paperbacks, click on the links below:

 

Note:  If you click on one of the Amazon links, I get a few cents.

Who determines absolute value?

AbsoluteValueMany people, myself included, believe in the power of a strong brand. Brand positioning has influenced buying decisions for years and a company with a strong sense of their own brand and a commitment to authentically walking out that brand is at an advantage over their competitors.

In the past, a great brand could significantly influence if not determine the absolute value of a product or service.

But, is that marketing truth evolving?

I’ve just finished reading the book Absolute Value, What Really Influences Customers in the Age of Nearly Perfect Information* by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen and it digs into this issue. The book offers many examples of how consumers have viewed and evaluated brands in the past and how they are coming to interact and judge them today. When you see the trends spelled out, in example after example, it’s pretty eye opening.

To kick things off — the authors list 5 widely held beliefs and suggest that they are all becoming less true today.

  1. A company’s brand is more important today than it has ever been
  2. Nurturing loyalty should be the marketer’s primary, day-to-day concern
  3. All customers are irrational
  4. An overload of opinions may actually paralyze people
  5. Positioning is the most important part of the marketing game

The authors assert that most brands are losing their role as a definer of quality and that a consumer’s past satisfaction is not as anchoring as it used to be. They also contend that because of the abundance of rational information that is so readily available to all of us, our methods of evaluating products and services has changed dramatically.

We really don’t shop/buy the way we used to. Let’s say you need to buy a car. Back in the day, you either went to a dealer based on your brand preference or you might have reacted to a TV spot or your neighbor’s experience.

But today, what would you do? You would look online and read the reviews. You’d look at safety reports. You’d then go to a site and could review exactly what the dealer paid for any car you were interested in. Finally, armed with print outs and a price you knew was 3% over dealer invoice, you’d head to the dealership.

Suddenly, you have access to all kinds of data that wasn’t readily available a decade ago and much of that data is ranking, grading and critiquing the item in question.

Given those two choices – a fuzzy brand preference or hundreds/thousands of reviews from other people – which do you think will influence you more today?

If you’re like most other people, you’ll trust the masses more than your own perception or previous experiences, unless you’re already a brand zealot.

That’s where the problem comes in for marketers. In this new marketplace, there’s a voice that is overshadowing theirs. And it’s not just word of mouth. It’s word of mouth, amplified. Many voices and they’re so much easier to find/listen to. And it turns out, their collective wisdom and experience is quite compelling.

This book is a thought provoking read. (Buy a copy of the book**) It will make the marketer in you tilt your head and really wonder about the effectiveness of your efforts. It will make the consumer in you examine your own purchasing patterns and identify some of your biggest influencers.

But whichever hat you’re wearing — it will force you to look at our world and your work in marketing a little differently. Just like your consumers are doing.

 

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from Emanuel Rosen but I really did read it and I really liked it and found it thought provoking.  You’d be amazed at the number of books I receive that I don’t really like… and therefore, don’t mention to you.

**Amazon affiliate link

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