1. worthy of notice: worth noticing or commenting on
2. unusual: unusual or exceptional, and attracting attention because of this
The success of your next cause-related marketing campaign (and perhaps all your marketing efforts) may hang on this single adjective. That’s the word from Andy Sernovitz, author of the book Word of Mouth Marketing and founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.
I caught Andy’s remarks at a speech he gave last night. What follows is the first part of my precis of his presentation. Part II follows on Thursday's post.
Word of mouth has been around forever and everyone knows how powerful it can be, for good and ill. But without an assist from the tenets of marketing, word of mouth by itself is like pasta without the sauce. That is, incomplete.
Propelling good word of mouth, Sernovitz says, has never been easier. Email and the social media amount to word of mouth particle accelerators, getting more from word of mouth than it could under its own power.
For instance, Sernovitz says, Gap sends out an occasional email to their staff that is passed off as a super-secret friends-only discount. The email says that the discount is only to be shared with one friend or family member. But Gap has something like 100,000 teenage employees, and their definition of sharing with one friend is different than mine. The result is that the discount code ends up on MySpace pages and in blogs and the like.
What are some other word of mouth campaigns that demonstrate the use of the remarkable?
- The stunning wrapping paper that online retailer Red Envelope wraps gifts in.
- The annual Thanksgiving release of gross-out flavors from Jones Soda, like turkey and gravy. You buy a case as a novelty, pass around small sips to your Thanksgiving guests, whereupon everyone turns up their nose. And next week, when you’re in the store, you buy one of Jones’s more appetizing flavors, like strawberry lime.
- Drury lnn, an otherwise indistinguishable $79 a night motel offers its guests one hour of free long distance for each night’s stay. You start calling people and in the conversation you tell them you’re calling because you got free long distance at the Drury Inn. Never mind that you’ve got free nights and weekends on your cell phone. In effect, Sernovitz says, you’re doing outbound telemarketing for Drury from your room!
- Sun Microsystems’ Project Blackbox, wherein Sun’s servers come in a jet black self-contained cargo container.
- Heinz’s Top This TV Challenge, which offers a $57,000 (get it?) first prize to people who make the best commercial for Heinz and post it on YouTube, launched with no more promotional support than on-package labeling and a single press release.
- The first computers from Apple after Steve Jobs had returned to lead the company… are you ready?... had color. Which is little different than subtly changing the hue of the color burst on the box of Tide detergent. And yet Apple began its resurgence with just that one
seemingly insignificant action.
The genius of word of mouth marketing is that it’s relatively inexpensive. And if you can’t figure out something remarkable over a long weekend you’re either a dolt or you’re over-thinking it.
On Thursday: the five Ts of word of mouth marketing and The Chocolate Problem.