Andy Sernovitz – Word of Mouth guru

Andy Sernovitz - Word of Mouth guruWord of mouth marketing in 5 easy steps –

1 – put card in the thing for a surprise, and 2 – lower your expectations!

At Dreary Inn (sp – yes, pun intended) you get one free hour long distance. They are giving you a reason to spread the word and the tool to tell people about it!

RedEnvelope send nice gifts in gorgeous red box, bow, etc. It’s huge wrapping – no matter what the gift is, they are creating buzz about the box, and people ask “where did you get that!” instead of “what is the gift?”!!

WOMM is about little simple things that we can do… not HUGE things. Like the Purple cow thing, where people can’t help but tell their friends about you.

As americans, we talk all the time, but we specifically talk about products. Restaurants, type of food, shampoos, etc. We talk about things to buy, and brand mentions are woven through our chatter – so the brand is to get peopel to talk about our brand. It’s not about causing conversations, it’s about getting people to talk about our stuff.

Example, Krispy Kream – hot donuts.the neon sign would cause huge WOMM.

On the flip side you can blow it – if you don’t keep it special, people are going to stop talking about you. It has to be special! No one tells their friends about buying donuts in the gas station, where they are cold.

1. give people a reason to talk about you.

2. keep the message special. (KK donuts cold in the gas station was a no-no)

WOMM is (A) giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and (B) making it easy for people to talk about it.

YouTube has 7 diff spots on each page facilating sharing!! blog it, e-mail it, share it, etc. So there is B2B, B2C… but what about C2C (which is really B2C2C2C2C…..)

one of the greatest is the secret e-mail with the employee discount for the gap, etc. If they ran the same thing in the newspaper it would not spread – but on the e0mail (with employee discount) it did!

This is all about LOVE. Making people love your stuff – they want to tell people about you, your company, etc. Teenagers in love can’t stop talking about it! You’ve got to earn love, trust and respect and NEVER break that.

Love and money don’t mix. If people are going to tell their friends aboutyou, they will because they like what you are doing. (so I’m not going to do the crazy free affiliate thing) – this violates the trust!

“advertising is the price of being boring!” If you create cool, exciting stuff then everyone will write about you! If you are boring you have to pay them to write about you :p But it’s easier to buy the ads than it is to be interesting, remarkable or to get respect from them.

Why do the same people who skip through the ads on a magazine authorize ad purchases at their work??

1 New Reality – consumers control your reputation

People like me – I need tothink about selling to people like me (I think I missed this or didn’t get this point right, I don’t agree 100% (he’s rich and I’m not though, so listen to who you want t0)) – and people like me can stamp me out with a post or comment on CNET or something like that.

People like me UR the UE (UR: you are; UE: user experience) – your brand is not what your ads say they are. Your brand is the sum total of all the experiences when regular people call your company. The true user experience defines your brand. No amount of advertising fixes a broken car – no ad campaign connects you to a cell spot when you can’t connect! Example is Southwest airlines because they are the same as the rest (as far as rain, uncontrollables, etc.) but SW is nice about things!! JetBlue begged forgiveness – they are genuinely nice people! Guess who isn’t nice, but rather fake? Ted. It’s just not the same.

The permanent Record – everything lives forever in Google. So your job as a WOMM is to make sure the good stuff gets on the front page too – the great customer service moment, etc.

3 reasons why people talk about you:

You – because they love your company, products, stuff, etc. He can’t give a checklist of stuff for us to do – it comes down to just being a great company. Just do a good job, consistently, for a long time.

Me – personal, emotional reasons. Because it makes them look good. “I’m the car guy, everyone asks me about cars”. People love to be asked… Mac owners believe that if you own a Mac you’ll be better off… all companies should have a non-corporate blog, a “geeko” blog (example – Quickbooks developer blog). Give them more to talk about so they can look good, feel good about themselves.

Us – wewant to feel part of the group – the teenagrs that don’t want to be abused by marketers but they all where the gap hat and A&F shirts. Or, the saturn groupies (not ferrari, harley) — 60k people!! Maker’s Mark is another example of how to do this… you sign up and vow to save others from drinking bad whiskey, and they send you 30 cards to hand out… ! There are 500k ambassadors (sp) !! Huge power of thinking part of the group. Microsoft has on-site face2face meetings, even though they don’t have to — 3 every day! This builds the “us.” They had over 1M Vista beta testers! Make people feel part of your family.

5 Steps in WOMM

  1. Talkers: find people who will talk — these are regular people, all of us, bloggers are talkers… it’s just people that volunteer to join the club!
  2. Topics: give people a reason to talk –this is not the brand, or marketing material, this is just simple stuff that people can tell to others! Perhaps the best topic ever, about 10 yrs ago when Jobs went back to apple, it was “cute little computers – they are colorful (purple, pink, orange, etc.). The colors are irrelevent but guess what – it created buzz and talk – it was the topic that travelled that made it so successful.
  3. Tools: help the message spread — sometimes you just have to ask them to. Also, the “tell a friend” button on every single page of your site, or an “e-mail this post” to someone else. This needs to be on EVERY page and EVERY post. Biggest tool is e-mail – because it is FORWARDABLE. This is HUGE. Or launch an e-mail newsletter (which is old school but travellable) – you have to think about what is it going to make it easier for people to share your topic?
  4. Taking Part: join the conversation –marketing departments are all about outputs — customer service is all about input… we need to figure out how to have a conversation!! Two ways. Every business should put every employee in front of a computer… and respond to every single mention that you finally see. No matter what their role is… if they say something bad your response is “I’m sorry, we screwed up” — the response is another post that says “OMG, Dell reads my blog!” You get another post going, and it breaks down some barriers.
  5. Tracking: measure and listen

New phenomenon out there – making people happy makes you more money!

— The End

Q: what do you think about the question “would you recommend this to your friend?” A: (jason thinks: the ultimate question is “will you” ?) — Andy says there is a formula from some book he’s doing that shows a correlation between the number of promoters and profit. “Net Promoter Score” is what the hottest trend is to figure out now.

Comment: this dude put up a positive comment that he had on Dell and they didn’t know what to do, how to react.

Q: Should we really put the lowest paid employee on the internet making comments? do we blog so we can do change management (and have them blog), have it come from the strategic level? A: it’s not that simple. the CEO of Dell needs to make the computers better, not blog. There can be a team that handles this. (jason thinks: getting the lower level involved in this will help form/change the company structure).

Comment: Frankie James mentions the power of nice book (should take 40 minutes to read)

Q: he is saying that he requested us to make any comment, good or bad. Does he really want the bad? A: It’s all about honesty, and authenticity. It’s about being human, being real, sharing what we think! Not everyone is going to like it but readers are intelligent, and they will understand when we have a bad comment or whateer, that is what conversation is about. No one believes 100% of positive reviews.

3 thoughts on “Andy Sernovitz – Word of Mouth guru

  1. Karin H.

    Another great insight in what went on at SOBCon.

    What I think Any meant with “People like me” is to treat your business/product/service as if you are the customer: do I want to buy this fro this company? How does this company treat me if I buy and does this company do when I have a complaint (or a simple question for that matter).

    Another great book on WOMM and the power of bloggers I still think is “Citizen Marketers” by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, also explains the ‘selling to people like me’ better than I can.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

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