July 29, 2014

Be a "Word of Mouth" Enabler

Sometimes delivering a great customer experience through amazing products, architecture or movement just isn't quite enough to trigger the chain reaction of effective Word of Mouth.

Think about the reasons that people might be hesitant to recommend. Perhaps I consider my experience too "private" to talk about…or don't want to share the "secret" of my success. Unless you ask someone for specific advice, you'll seldom hear them bragging about their top-notch dentist, plastic surgeon or medical specialist.

ZZ77DA195F Loss of proximity is another reason Word of Mouth loses it's oomph. If I have an amazing experience on vacation, but don't have an opportunity to share it until I get home weeks later, the magic of the moment has already begun to fade.

If you are truly delivering the goods to your customers, you should work on techniques to help them share their experience in the moment or very soon after.

Even in the late 1800s, the big cruise lines knew how to enable Word of Mouth among the millions of immigrants tucked away in 3rd class. On White Star liners, where even the 3rd class guests were served food by waiters on tables set with linen, the menu cards doubled as postcards that could be sent home to friends and relatives.

I think back on some pretty amazing experiences I've had and not been able to share until well after the moment. A great example is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The system in place is a well-oiled machine for getting people rigged up, trained up and moved out into the superstructure to begin the ascent. Before you are back down, the digital photographs of your group have been loaded on monitors in the gift shop waiting for you to purchase them…which we did. On a CD, which sat in our bags until we returned home. Then, it sat on our coffee table for weeks.

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Since you are not allowed to bring your own camera, these are the only pictures you can get of your experience and I'm sure that loads of people purchase them. How could they be turned into an instant Word of Mouth marketing tool?

What if the operators made the photos available on a kiosk, where you could just email a lower resolution picture to anyone you wanted, BEFORE you left the building. Yes, they might lose a few CD sales, but they would be enabling their customers to tell others in the excitement of the moment.

In this day of social media, they could take it a few steps further. Since most of their tickets are sold online, they could ask for some sharing details BEFORE people arrive and be ready to post photos and video directly to their Facebook, Myspace or Twitter streams DURING the experience.

What about your business? How could you enable people to tell others while the experience is still fresh?

MediaDailyNews: Is Honesty the Best Policy?

BlairI don’t know where to begin on this story. AdTech had a panel yesterday on the "Word of Mouth" advertising industry. (No, I wasn’t actually there, but I’m heading to NYC tomorrow for an even better time.)

David Balter of BzzAgent actually said:

"Word of mouth right now is pretty much an honest industry, but if we keep corrupting it with deceptive and misleading campaigns, word of mouth will become as hated as spam, and all its authenticity and potential for growth and innovation will disappear."

Here’s one of the guys leading the charge on PAID word of mouth saying that the "industry" is pretty much honest. I beg to disagree. At least when an upfront endorsement is made, we KNOW they are being paid or rewarded for saying what they’re saying.

Now, the approach of P&G’s Tremor division is a bit different. They send product samples, "welcome kits" to budding young influentials and let nature take its course. Guess what? If they send an influential a product that sucks, it won’t get them very far. "We cannot trick them," remarked Procter & Gamble’s John King, adding: "We cannot deceive them."

They use the Blair Witch Project as an example of "deceptive" advertising that worked. Here’s the truth about Blair Witch: It was a pretty damn good thriller flick. It was compelling. It was shot in a whole new way by some people we hadn’t heard of, and we LIKED the fact that they tried to pull one over on us. But…if they had made a lousy film, it would not have worked. 

The moral is…BE DAMN GOOD. Put out good products and let people talk about them.

For the record, in the story, they say that Blair Witch made well over $100 million. Here’s what IMDB says:

This film was in the Guinness Book Of World Records for "Top Budget:Box Office Ratio" (for a mainstream feature film). The film cost $22,000 to make and made back $240.5 million, a ratio of $1 spent for every $10,931 made.

Oh, and how do you follow up a deceptive campaign with the promotion for the sequel? Artisan re-shot some of the movie to make it more "commercial." According to The Numbers the sequel grossed $26.4 million on a production budget of $15 million. Nice try.

How effective is word of mouth when you have a lousy product? Ask the producers of Hulk or Gigli. They know.

Link: MediaDailyNews 11-09-04.