Word of Mouth Marketing: 3 Key Questions

Word of Mouth Marketing: 3 Key Questions

Recently, the Social Media Examiner had an interesting interview with Ted Wright, author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth. Word of mouth, as you know, is a powerful thing, and Ted goes over a few fascinating examples of successful campaigns that worked because of this phenomenon, including P.B.R.’s famous turnaround. The whole interview was very insightful, but for this post, I want to focus and expand on the three main questions which, according to Ted, will determine whether a story will be shared or not:

1. Is the story interesting to influencers so they will pick it up, study it and really understand it?

Some people believe that influencer marketing is just about finding a person with a lot of Twitter followers and having them link your product with a ‘Pretty neat, check it out.’ Sure, if a lot of people do this at once, good results can be obtained. However, the true value of influencer marketing is in its focus on quality over quantity. If this person Tweets a lot, this particular message may get lost in their followers’ feeds quickly, and no impact will be felt. The story, content, or product has to be interesting enough to inspire more than just a cursory, ‘oh, cool’. Bloggers have to get excited, so you need to tell your story in a way that hooks them. Coming up with an awesome campaign is not an easy thing, but catchy things tend to stay on the mind and latch on, inspiring audiences to click more, read more, and talk more.

  1. Is it relevant to influencers’ audiences?

Crafting your pitch is all the more difficult when you don’t know exactly who you’re writing for. Every campaign needs to have a certain consumer in mind. In this way, I tend to think of marketing as similar to fashion design. When designers are working on a garment, they are encouraged to think of who their customer is – who’s the girl or guy who will wear that? What will they do? Where will they go? This is the same type of thought process marketers need to go through in order to, pardon the pun, tailor their story correctly. Once you have a thorough understanding of your influencers and their audience, you will also be able to have a deeper discussion with them about your product.

  1. Is it authentic to the way they currently understand the brand and the category in general?

Consider this, if a healthy food brand suddenly decided to double cheeseburgers with bacon are diet-friendly, what would happen? The story is interesting and relevant, but it’s also confusing and may not create the type of buzz the brand wants. Fake controversy will only raise your profile for so long, and will doubtful increase customer retention in the long-run. Plus, every ‘story’ is one part of the larger storyline of your brand. A skilled marketer can change the message and direction of the brand, but it must be done in a way that is logical and understandable to the audience.
The next best thing to having the best product available is having a good product that inspires advocacy; a product people want to tell their friends about. This type of word of mouth is difficult to measure, as it doesn’t just happen online. As plugged in as we are, people still do talk face to face. This silent audience is just as important, and possibly is even larger than the one that creates buzz on social media. Get them talking!

Are there any other key questions marketers need to ask themselves when they start working with bloggers? Let us know in the comments!

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