As far as the marketing mainstream is concerned, the price for launching a new consumer brand in the United States starts around $100 million.
Speaking only for myself, that's a little out-of-reach.
But in his book Word of Mouth Marketing Andy Sernovitz says there's ways to build a respected brand for less.
In this post I discuss his five Ts of word of mouth marketing and the challenge of The Chocolate Problem.
Lastly, my apologies to Sernovitz and to you, because I misspelled his name in my initial posting. Rest assured that I have fired the idiot who made the mistake.
Sernovitz cites five Ts in word of mouth marketing:
Finally, word of mouth marketing faces what Sernovitz calls “The Chocolate Problem.” By which he means, no one ever called a friend and said, “Have you tried this thing called chocolate? It’s amazing!”
- Find people who will talk. Bear in mind that talkers may not be customers and that if you try and buy their participation, you’ll almost certainly undermine their credibility as talkers.
- Give them a topic. And don’t make it in the marketing-speak of features and benefits. Nobody recites a brochure list of features and benefits when they pass on word of mouth.
- Give them tools to help the message spread. Blogs, email, coupons, the ‘tell a friend’ option are all key tools.
- Join the conversation… take part. If your company has stumbled, apologize. Repeat as necessary. Invite people back. Leave thoughtful notes on message boards and blogs. Etc.
- The last T is track. As Sernovitz archly said, word of mouth is at least as trackable as all other kinds of marketing, which sometimes means not very trackable at all. But you can certainly use BlogPulse, Google, Technorati, Feedster and the like to get a read on your word of mouth marketing efforts.
That secret’s pretty well out.
Likewise, no one emails a friend about getting a great room and attentive service at a Ritz Carleton Hotel. People expect that. It’s baked in.
How do you combat The Chocolate Problem? Well, you keep coming up with new things that people find remarkable. Google search was once remarkable, but no longer. Now, it’s a useful commodity. But Google Earth is still pretty remarkable. My father-in-law, well into his seventies, is entranced by it. Now there’s Google Traffic. And whatever else Google has in beta.
Now is Google Earth really useful? Let's be honest, it's more gee whiz cool than truly beneficial. But it certainly is remarkable in Sernovitz's formulation. To fight The Chocolate Problem, you must keep coming up with new remarkable things.
Labels: Andy Sernovitz, Ritz Carlton, The Chocolate Problem, Word of Mouth Marketing