Church of the Customer: Word of mouth archives
June 04, 2013
Word-of-mouth marketing: control is futile
Even today, marketers are still trying to control the conversation customers have about their brand. Give it up. With social media acting as a word-of-mouth jetstream, it's impossible to make sure people are on "brand message" when they talk about you to friends and family. We can only hope to create products and brands that people want to evangelize and then join in the conversation.Tweet
March 21, 2013
70% of people trust online product recommendations from friends
[Click image to see a bigger version]
A new study from Forrester shows that online content in the form of product or brands reviews is trusted by 70% of U.S. consumers. Not suprising but it adds to the voluminous set of resarch showing that word of mouth continues to be the most trusted form of advertising.
Least trusted? Text messages from brands. Only 9% of people believe what is being sent to their iPhones. Time to rethink your mobile strategy?Tweet
February 17, 2013
Maker's Mark listens to customers, reverses course on diluting bourbon
Almost one week ago, Bill Samuels Jr., son of the founder of Marker's Mark bourbon, told customers he had made a giant mistake. He failed to forsee a worldwide surge in demand for premium bourbon when he was in charge of the brand six years ago. He said, as a result, Maker's Mark was going to be diluted to 42 percent alcohol by volume, from 45 percent, so more of the whiskey can be bottled to meet demand. That's a cut from 90 proof to 84 proof. He embarrassly admitted, "I was the forecaster in chief around here. ... I must have been asleep at the wheel.” He, and his son Rob, the CEO of Marker's Mark, assured customers that they wouldn't notice the change. Even Maker's Mark professional taste testers couldn't tell the difference, Rob Samuels said.
However, customers were pissed. Comments like this one began pouring in on the company's Facebook page:
"so now you're saying no will notice because you ASSUME your customers use [Maker's Mark] in mixed drinks instead of neat??? wow not only are you cheapening your product you are insulting your customers...count me out, time to try some other bourbons who still value quality"
After a week of listening to customers' negative comments about the change on their social media sites and through email, Maker's Mark management changed course. Today Rob and Bill Samuels told fans in a letter on their website and Facebook page:
We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.
You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.
So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker’s Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we’ve made it since the very beginning.
Read the entire letter here.
Every company makes mistakes. The way Makers Mark's handled this situation -- by listening to customers concerns and quickly changing course -- is a model for other companies to follow. With their Ambassadors program, Maker's Mark has long been a company that understands loyalty. Today they showed that that loyalty goes both ways.Tweet
November 17, 2012
The making of a word of mouth-worthy keynote: WOMMA Summit 2012
"Give them something to talk about."
That's one of the lessons from Lady Gaga that I shared in my keynote, based on my upcoming book Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics (formerly Monster Business) (May 2013), at the WOMMA Summit earlier this week in Las Vegas. It's also something I tried to apply to my keynote. And that is how this happened:
After I spoke about Gaga's strategy of focusing on just 1% of her fans --the diehard superfans -- to engender passionate loyalty, and shared the six lessons of how she engages them, Gaga herself took the stage to perform a few numbers. Ok, it wasn't really Gaga, but it was the next best thing. It was Derrick Barry, female impersonator extraordinaire. Derrick has been a Top 40 finalist on America's Got Talent for his Britney Spears impersonation, but he also does an amazing Gaga. I heard later that some people thought, impossibly, that Gaga herself might actualy be there because of the "special entertainment" tease in the session description and because WOMMA President Suzanne Fanning told the audience earlier in the day that "the session will be talked about for years." And other attendees told me that they had no idea that our Gaga was a man, until I introduced him at the end of the performance as "Mr. Derrick Barry."
I am a huge fan of RuPaul's Drag Race and to have a drag queen/female impersonator of Derrick's level be part of one of my keynotes was amazing. Thanks to Brad Fay of the Keller Fay Group for challenging me to make this talk one of the most talked about I have ever done and brainstorming this idea. And thanks to Virginia Miracle and Jim Rudden of Spredfast, who sponsored the talk, and helped make this whole thing happen. Thanks to Suzanne and the WOMMA staff for supporting the idea.
Gaga is one of the best word-of-mouth marketers I have ever seen. She gives her Little Monsters and the rest of us lots to talk about. I have been so inspired by Gaga's creativity and risk-taking in all of her endeavors. Examples in my upcoming book of how she has gotten people talking include:
- The meat dress that she wore to 2010 MTV Video Music Wards to draw attention to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,"
- The egg-shaped "vessel" that an alien-looking Gaga emerged from at the 2011 Grammy Awards show to draw attention to her new song and album, Born This Way. The performance was meant to symbolize the birth of a new race of people who are free of predujice and judgement.
- Her perfume, Fame, that she insisted had to be different from anything in the market. She pushed Coty, the fragrance manufacturer, to invent a new technology that would allow the perfume to be black in the bottle but spray on clear.
So the lesson here is to look at everything you do in your business, from the product to the marketing to the customer service, and push yourself to make it word of mouth-worthy. Make sure you are giving your best customers lots of reasons to talk about you to others. After all, they are your best sales force.
BONUS: See more pictures of the keynote and Derrick on the WOMMA Facebook page.Tweet
October 17, 2012
Preview of my keynote at upcoming WOMMA Summit
I'm a long-time supporter of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). It is the premier community of marketers focused on word of mouth marketing. I was on the very first board back in 2006.I an honored to be doing a keynote for their annual Summit again. Here's a preview of my talk which is based on my upcoming book, Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics (formerly Monster Business). Hope to see you there!
August 15, 2012
How to ride a meme to create word of mouth
Ann Handley is not impressed.
Ann is the Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs and yesterday she starred in 10 photos posted to company's Facebook page. The photos were a takeoff on the "McKayla is not impressed" meme that parodied US Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney’s hilariously sour expression after settling for a silver medal in the women’s vault final. Already getting lots of likes, comments, shares and tweets, Ann's photos are creating buzz for MarketingProfs.
Riding a meme can be a great short-term buzz spreader. It shows that your organization is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. It also gives your fans and evangelists one more thing to spread to their networks about you.
One caution: Be fast. Memes have a short half-life so jump on them quickly.Tweet
May 21, 2012
5 surprising things about word of mouth marketing
Social media marketing is still all the rage, but an important new book out from Ed Keller and Bray Fay reminds marketers where and how customers are actually talking about brands,services and companies. From their book, "The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace," here's 5 important things you need to know before putting that integrated marketing plan together:
- 90% of all conversations about brands happen offline. Ed and Brad's company Keller Fay has been tracking Americans' conversations, a new sample of 700 people every week since 2006, and have found that the majority of brand conversations happen offline: face-to-face (76%) and on the phone (14%). Online conversations only make up 8% of total conversations.
- Online conversations and offline conversations are not the same. Research shows that the people who talk about brands offline are different than the people who talk about brands online, especially in age. Also the types of brands dictate where most conversations happen: Brands that get the most online WOM skew toward those that offer uniqueness, and thus encourage people to express opinions as a way of signaling their own uniqueness and social status. Offline sharing had more to do with expressing emotions like satisfaction and excitement.
- It doesn't take high-tech, innovative products to get people talking. Keller Fay's TalkTrack research shows that products that consumers use in their everyday lives are the brands that get the most talk-value. Apple might have the coolest products but Coke products are the most ubiquitous.
- Traditional marketing methods still matter.The TalkTrack study finds that about 25% of all consumer conversations about brands involve one consumer telling another about an advertisement that he or she has seen. Another 30% of conversations mention retail displays, coupons, direct mail and public relations. Pretty old school, huh?
- Most word of mouth is positive. Keller Group's research shows that overall, only 8% of brand conversations are truly negative, and 66% of brand conversations are truly positive. Another 11% is neutral, and 15% is a mix of positive and negative. Also, positive WOM is more credible than negative WOM. When people hear something positive about a brand, 66% of them assign a high credibility rating to it, rating it 9 or 10 on a scale of 0-10. Only 47% of people give the same credibility rating to negative opinions about brands.
BONUS: To hear more about the findings in the book, check out the video interview Ed Keller did with the Wall Street Journal.
March 13, 2012
Get me a Kony 2012, stat!
This cartoonfrom our friend Tom Fishburne, "marketoonist" extrordinaire, was perfectly timed this week. With the Kony 2012 video becoming the most viral video of all time -- 100 million views in 6 days -- I'm wondering if it has renewed demands by the C-suite that their team get them a viral video ASAP.
Smart marketers know that producing a video that spreads like Kony 2012 is like catching lightening in a bottle. You can try it, but the odds are stacked against you.
November 28, 2011
The simplest definition of word of mouth marketing
Nice video from WOMMA on the basics of word of mouth marketing.
October 17, 2011
14 new statistics about word of mouth marketing
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has a neat infographic detailing the latest stats about word or mouth marketing, online and offline.
Note: the WOMMA Summit is coming up November 16-18 in Las Vegas. It's a great conference to learn the latest WOM marketing techniques from leading brands and agencies.