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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

every homer has a marge. and other truths about love and word of mouth

In Chat, Word of Mouth on July 28, 2010 at 5:07 am

I took the plunge and decided to invest in attending the GasPedal How to be Good at Word of Mouth Supergenious conference in New York recently.

Gaspedal is a company headed by WOM (word of mouth) guru, Andy Sernovitz. His company teaches other companies how to be good at word of mouth, which is especially helpful during the age of social media.

Supergenius is Gaspedal’s annual conference where different people from  around the world attend and here influential speakers.

I felt that attending this conference would have a strong return on investment for me, my current clients and future clients.

My excitement about the conference grew even more when I found a box at my door step filled with conference “survival” gear essentials such as a mustache, a whoopee cushion, a bouncy ball, and Andy Sernovitz book “Secret and Mysterious Order of Word of Mouth”

The conference fee, the hotel and the flight were worth Every. Single. Penny.

I came back armed with a wealth of useful, timely and timeless knowledge and a kick butt swag bag!

swag bag contents

This year, the founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, gave the key note speech  and I completely geeked out when I saw Tony sitting in front of me during when of the “How to” segments of the conference. Wish I’d worked up the nerve to get him to sign copy of his book Delivering Happiness.

Other notable companies represented were the people  from Maker’s Mark, Domino’s Pizza, Kraft, GM and more.

GasPedal CEO Andy Sernovitz gave the opening key-note on how word of mouth will save our brand

Love or Marketing

Key Points:

Happy customers are your greatest advertisers.  Earning their respect and recommendation is most important.

Ex: Zappos

We buy from Zappos.com because they make us fall in love with their service. They let us vent about our bunions and return our shoes whenever we want to return them. Because of Zappos unconditional commitment to service, Zappos  sells billions of shoes.
Love is the most powerful force in marketing. Love earns customers. It’s not bought and paid for. It is earned through caring service.

We have a choice: We can either pay for media or get someone to talk for us. Customer love doesn’t cost anything.

Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what other people say it is.

Word of mouth is the last thing they hear after your salespeople leave. People Google your product and find Yelp reviews, Tweets, etc of people who have reviewed your product.

All of the ads in the world don’t move products. Word of mouth moves products.

Word of mouth works with good companies, good products and good people. Good companies are open, honest and kind. Companies that use word of mouth are better companies.

Andy shared these examples that demonstrated that every Homer has his Marge:

Skittles: There’s nothing new about skittles – except that 6 million people are Skittles fans on Facebook!

Dell Outlet Store: Dell outlet store’s twitter account is followed by 1.5 million people. They sell 6 million dollars of stuff for every 20 minutes each day. Duct brand duck tape found that kids are using duck tape to make prom clothing. 120 schools, 1,6000 reporters, and 48,000 families compete for the  scholarship developed by Duck brand for the best prom dress .

Heinz Ketchup: 4,700 people made Youtube commercials for Heinz and 10 million watched.

“There’s love for everything! If we can do it for ketchup and duct tape, we can do it for you! Every Homer has his Marge.
Help love grow:  nurture it and invest in it. If people like what you do and are happy with you, help people start the conversation and spread it loud.

Definition of WOM: giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for that conversation to take place

Ex:  “Secret” employee discounts to places like Gap and J. Crew.

A guy or gal in the marketing department sends an email to employees that gives a special discount code for just employees. The employees are told they can share it with only a few select friends. Then, the employees share this email with their friends and these friends share it with their friends. Gap and J. Crew make it easy for conversation to take place by giving it to those will talk and share. This sharable email  is much more effective than non sharable employee discount cards.

The 5 T’s of WOM:

1. Talkers: who will talk?

2. Topics: what will they talk about?

3. Tools: help the message spread.

4. Taking part: join the conversation.

5. Tracking: measure and listen.


It is not about social media!
An email gets a lot of traction too.  A personal recommendation from a personal friend beats a tweet any day.

Be a brand worth talking about. WOM needs to be portable, repeatable, emotional.

A company needs to help people share the love. Give them the tools and the technology to share the message. Put videos on YouTube. Put offers on Twitter and Facebook. If people want to put your name places, give them hats, shirts, stickers, etc.

He ended with these key points:

Would anybody tell a friend? This is the question that challenges you to be wonderful. Is this product good enough?

Advertising is the price of being boring:
You can be special enough for people to talk about you. Or you can be boring and buy ads. Be different, be interesting and let people talk about you.

Andy’s keynote speech was the beginning of my new love affair with Word of Mouth marketing.