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www.thesmartmanager.com70 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015
The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 www.thesmartmanager.com 71
WHAT’SINAWORD?
illustrationbyswapnilredkar
Marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately
conceived advertising campaigns, yet often what really makes
up a consumer’s mind is not only simple but also free: a
word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. As
consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the
ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth
cuts through the noise quickly and effectively.1
Diligent marketing entails finding the ‘why’ behind the
purchasing decisions of consumers. And the best way to
decipher this is to listen to their conversations—to find
meaning in the unpremeditated flow of words they exchange.
TED WRIGHT
IS THE CEO OF FIZZ, AND AUTHOR OF
FIZZ: HARNESS THE POWER OF WORD
OF MOUTH MARKETING TO DRIVE
BRAND GROWTH.
hy is Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) the
‘next big thing’ in marketing to export countries
such as the United States? The fact is that there
is not a CEO or CMO that thinks their broadcast
advertising is more effective now than it has been in the
past. They thought social media was going to be their
savior, but we are beginning to see that it does not work as
well as we hoped. As the efficacy of traditional advertising
has continued on its decline, and evidence mounts that
social media has not been its saving grace, word-of-
W
84% OF GLOBAL RESPONDENTS
ACROSS 58 COUNTRIES SAID IN A NIELSEN
ONLINE SURVEY THAT WORD-OF-MOUTH
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRIENDS
AND FAMILY SOURCE WERE
THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY.*
WHY?
next big shift
www.thesmartmanager.com72 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015
mouth marketing—conversations between
consumers, most of them face to face—offers
brands a reliable and remarkably consistent
method for increasing sales. Below are just a
few factoids to consider:
	 90+% of North Americans block out
broadcast advertising—Harris
	 80+% of North Americans do not believe
that companies tell the truth in their
advertising— Forrester
	 70+% of North Americans trust their
friends as their #1 source of information
about products and services they are going
to buy—Edelman
	 One North American in ten tells the other
nine what to buy about everything—
KellerFay
	 Word of Mouth Marketing is responsible
for 6 trillion in North American consumer
spending. Annually!— WOMMA.org
And it is not just North America;
consumers in Western Europe, Australia,
Japan, and many other nations that are huge
potential export markets are rapidly turning
or have already turned away from broadcast
as a trusted source of information to guide
purchasing decisions.
Companies large and small are acting on
this information and using it to shape their
marketing plans. Coca-Cola’s global ‘Share a
Coke’ program featuring people’s first names
and nicknames printed right on the bottle
or can is an excellent example of a program
designed to create more story sharing face
to face. Startups such as Warby Parker (eye
glasses) and Embrace (pet insurance) have
seen triple-digit expansion while relying on
WOMM to drive growth.
multiplier effect
Authentic word-of-mouth marketing is all
about spreading your brand’s story through
conversations. My book Fizz: Harness the
Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive
Brand Growth refers to the effervescence of
conversation. If done well, one conversation
begets another, and then another and so
on—much like when you pour a glass of
champagne, and the initial pour results in a
multitude of bubbles. If you come up with one
great story and feed it to the right person, it has
a multiplier effect.
Here are the best tangible tips/advice
that business leaders can implement to be
If you come up
with one great
story and feed
it to the right
person, it has
a multiplier
effect.
what’s in a word? Wright
The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 www.thesmartmanager.com 73
harnessing the power of word-of-mouth
marketing to drive brand growth.
	 focus on your influencers
	 Who are influencers? You have to think of
influencers not as a specific person, like a
celebrity or blogger, but rather as a type of
person who has three specific personality
traits. When you do, the whole world of
influencers—previously invisible to you—
will seem quite obvious.
	 An influencer has three particular
personality traits:
	 They like to try new things because
they are new.
	 They love to share stories about
products and services with their friends.
	 They are intrinsically motivated.
	 Here are a couple of other interesting facts
about influencers. Pick any demographic
and roughly 10% (actual number between
9-11.5%) have personalities where the
three traits above dominate. Combine that
with the fact that an influencer’s story gets
spread at a rate of 8% within that person’s
social network over a year vs. just 3% for
the rest of us, and it is easy to see why our
work shows that 19% of everything that is
sold in America is purchased because it was
recommended to the purchaser by a friend.
As an example, a leading telecom
concern in the US relied on these facts
when building a marketing plan to grow
the adoption of 4G LTE-enabled devices.
By identifying a large target whose needs
would be met in a superior fashion by
4G LTE (working women), then finding
a smaller subset of potential influencers
(hairstylists2
) and teaching them about
the product’s benefits, an interesting
conversational topic was introduced into
an ecosystem where conversation was
already happening organically. Adoption
rates among the target were 14x, the rate of
general adoption in the first year alone.
	 let your influencers identify themselves
to you
	 Remember that part about influencers
being intrinsically motivated and that they
love to share stories with their friends? In
combination, this means that influencers
will identify themselves to you through
their actions of seeking out information.
They will do so because they are seeking
fodder so that they can share stories with
their friends. It is what they like to do and
everyone has a friend who acts like this,
like the person who always seems to know
the latest about the product or category that
you are also interested in. They not only
always seem to have the latest information
about X, but over time, they have become
the person that you will go to before
making a purchase decision in X category.
These people are influencers and their
influence does not come from being on
TV or having a ton of Instagram followers.
Their influence comes from having a
lot of information about something you
love, their ability to tell a good story, their
knowledge of you and what you like, and
a finely-honed ability to match product
benefits and features with a need that they
know you have.
Oracle has done a great job of
implementing this ‘share instead of sell’
ideal in its B2B outreach. Gone are the days
of the hard sell. They realize their audience
is smart, knowledgeable, and successful.
The sales force’s job is to share information
about Oracle’s superior products and allow
its customers to make the next move. This
has allowed the sales force to concentrate
In
combination,
this means that
influencers
will identify
themselves to
you through
their actions
of seeking out
information.
www.thesmartmanager.com74 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015
its efforts on those most likely to purchase
because they are identifying their interest
to the sales force instead of being ‘chased’
by them.
	 finally, use the Brunch Test
	 Influencers love a story that has three
qualities: it is ‘interesting’ to them; it
is ‘relevant’ to their audience; and it
is ‘authentic’ to how they currently
understand the category, or the product/
service itself. How can you test your
story for these attributes cheaply and
quickly? Use what we call the Brunch
Test—practice telling your story to your
preoccupied brunch companions. How
would you bring it up? What are the
relevant points you would tell first? What
are the interesting tidbits you would use
to draw them in? Are they with you? If
not, why not? Role-playing this in the
office will reveal quickly the strengths and
weaknesses in your story. In our office,
we do this live after we think the story is
ready. I pay for a staff member to take six
people out to brunch and ask them to work
the story into their meal at some point,
and then report back their findings. The
average word-of-mouth conversation in
America is 32 seconds. A long and
drawn-out conversation is four minutes, so
we are not talking about being obtrusive.
We are putting our story to the test because
that is what your influencers will be doing
every day.
big data and WOMM
Word-of-mouth marketing relies on stories,
and you can find a wealth of stories in big
data—if you ask the right questions. The
challenge for marketers today is not a lack of
up-to-the-minute consumer data, but that
there is suddenly so darn much of it that
CMOs are now drowning in data.
To find the stories hidden inside your
data, you must be specific about what you are
looking for, ask the right questions, and spend
some time.
Tip: Break down your data and ask the right
questions so that you can understand the ‘why’
behind the ‘what’. When you look at data
about your customers, you want to understand
not only what interests them right now, but
why. For example, a global cereal company
wanted to know how its customers were
reacting to the financial crisis of 2008. While
sorting through reams of data, they noticed
that consumers were concerned about the
quality of their garage. When they looked at
this insight more closely, they realized that
consumers were buying in bulk and storing
food in their garage. This allowed the company
to extract a story that helped them make
decisions on packaging—better glue seals,
plastic storage bins, etc.—that their audience
would find interesting, relevant, and authentic.
When you discover the why, you can tailor
your message more finely than any marketer
could have dreamed of even ten years ago. 
*http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under-
the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html
01 http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/a_
new_way_to_measure_word-of-mouth_marketing
02 in the United States, ‘hairstylists’ routinely rank among the
people most trusted by working women.
GOOGLE HITS
About 6,15,000 results
BOOKS
Unleashing the Ideavirus by
Seth Godin.
Word of Mouth Marketing: How
Smart Companies Get People
Talking by Andy Sernovitz.
The Anatomy Of Buzz: How to
Create Word of Mouth Marketing
by Emanuel Rosen.
AWARDS
There is an annual WOMMY
award ceremony, organised
by Word of Mouth Marketing
Association (WOMMA) to
recognize the industry’s best and
most inspiring works.
SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS
YeahThatGreenville: The campaign
by VisitGreenvilleSC received the
2014 Gold WOMMY award for
best customer engagement and
local economic development.
It was designed to promote
Greenville county as a special
destination.
RedBull: This beverage company
had launched various
word-of-mouth marketing
techniques such as RedBull Wings
Team who would interact with
consumers directly; they are now
launching apps to stay connected
with the customers.
FACTS
what’s in a word? Wright

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What's In A Word? - Ted Wright

  • 1. www.thesmartmanager.com70 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015
  • 2. The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 www.thesmartmanager.com 71 WHAT’SINAWORD? illustrationbyswapnilredkar Marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately conceived advertising campaigns, yet often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is not only simple but also free: a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. As consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively.1 Diligent marketing entails finding the ‘why’ behind the purchasing decisions of consumers. And the best way to decipher this is to listen to their conversations—to find meaning in the unpremeditated flow of words they exchange. TED WRIGHT IS THE CEO OF FIZZ, AND AUTHOR OF FIZZ: HARNESS THE POWER OF WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING TO DRIVE BRAND GROWTH. hy is Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) the ‘next big thing’ in marketing to export countries such as the United States? The fact is that there is not a CEO or CMO that thinks their broadcast advertising is more effective now than it has been in the past. They thought social media was going to be their savior, but we are beginning to see that it does not work as well as we hoped. As the efficacy of traditional advertising has continued on its decline, and evidence mounts that social media has not been its saving grace, word-of- W 84% OF GLOBAL RESPONDENTS ACROSS 58 COUNTRIES SAID IN A NIELSEN ONLINE SURVEY THAT WORD-OF-MOUTH RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY SOURCE WERE THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY.* WHY? next big shift
  • 3. www.thesmartmanager.com72 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 mouth marketing—conversations between consumers, most of them face to face—offers brands a reliable and remarkably consistent method for increasing sales. Below are just a few factoids to consider:  90+% of North Americans block out broadcast advertising—Harris  80+% of North Americans do not believe that companies tell the truth in their advertising— Forrester  70+% of North Americans trust their friends as their #1 source of information about products and services they are going to buy—Edelman  One North American in ten tells the other nine what to buy about everything— KellerFay  Word of Mouth Marketing is responsible for 6 trillion in North American consumer spending. Annually!— WOMMA.org And it is not just North America; consumers in Western Europe, Australia, Japan, and many other nations that are huge potential export markets are rapidly turning or have already turned away from broadcast as a trusted source of information to guide purchasing decisions. Companies large and small are acting on this information and using it to shape their marketing plans. Coca-Cola’s global ‘Share a Coke’ program featuring people’s first names and nicknames printed right on the bottle or can is an excellent example of a program designed to create more story sharing face to face. Startups such as Warby Parker (eye glasses) and Embrace (pet insurance) have seen triple-digit expansion while relying on WOMM to drive growth. multiplier effect Authentic word-of-mouth marketing is all about spreading your brand’s story through conversations. My book Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth refers to the effervescence of conversation. If done well, one conversation begets another, and then another and so on—much like when you pour a glass of champagne, and the initial pour results in a multitude of bubbles. If you come up with one great story and feed it to the right person, it has a multiplier effect. Here are the best tangible tips/advice that business leaders can implement to be If you come up with one great story and feed it to the right person, it has a multiplier effect.
  • 4. what’s in a word? Wright The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 www.thesmartmanager.com 73 harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing to drive brand growth.  focus on your influencers Who are influencers? You have to think of influencers not as a specific person, like a celebrity or blogger, but rather as a type of person who has three specific personality traits. When you do, the whole world of influencers—previously invisible to you— will seem quite obvious. An influencer has three particular personality traits:  They like to try new things because they are new.  They love to share stories about products and services with their friends.  They are intrinsically motivated. Here are a couple of other interesting facts about influencers. Pick any demographic and roughly 10% (actual number between 9-11.5%) have personalities where the three traits above dominate. Combine that with the fact that an influencer’s story gets spread at a rate of 8% within that person’s social network over a year vs. just 3% for the rest of us, and it is easy to see why our work shows that 19% of everything that is sold in America is purchased because it was recommended to the purchaser by a friend. As an example, a leading telecom concern in the US relied on these facts when building a marketing plan to grow the adoption of 4G LTE-enabled devices. By identifying a large target whose needs would be met in a superior fashion by 4G LTE (working women), then finding a smaller subset of potential influencers (hairstylists2 ) and teaching them about the product’s benefits, an interesting conversational topic was introduced into an ecosystem where conversation was already happening organically. Adoption rates among the target were 14x, the rate of general adoption in the first year alone.  let your influencers identify themselves to you Remember that part about influencers being intrinsically motivated and that they love to share stories with their friends? In combination, this means that influencers will identify themselves to you through their actions of seeking out information. They will do so because they are seeking fodder so that they can share stories with their friends. It is what they like to do and everyone has a friend who acts like this, like the person who always seems to know the latest about the product or category that you are also interested in. They not only always seem to have the latest information about X, but over time, they have become the person that you will go to before making a purchase decision in X category. These people are influencers and their influence does not come from being on TV or having a ton of Instagram followers. Their influence comes from having a lot of information about something you love, their ability to tell a good story, their knowledge of you and what you like, and a finely-honed ability to match product benefits and features with a need that they know you have. Oracle has done a great job of implementing this ‘share instead of sell’ ideal in its B2B outreach. Gone are the days of the hard sell. They realize their audience is smart, knowledgeable, and successful. The sales force’s job is to share information about Oracle’s superior products and allow its customers to make the next move. This has allowed the sales force to concentrate In combination, this means that influencers will identify themselves to you through their actions of seeking out information.
  • 5. www.thesmartmanager.com74 The Smart Manager Jan-Feb 2015 its efforts on those most likely to purchase because they are identifying their interest to the sales force instead of being ‘chased’ by them.  finally, use the Brunch Test Influencers love a story that has three qualities: it is ‘interesting’ to them; it is ‘relevant’ to their audience; and it is ‘authentic’ to how they currently understand the category, or the product/ service itself. How can you test your story for these attributes cheaply and quickly? Use what we call the Brunch Test—practice telling your story to your preoccupied brunch companions. How would you bring it up? What are the relevant points you would tell first? What are the interesting tidbits you would use to draw them in? Are they with you? If not, why not? Role-playing this in the office will reveal quickly the strengths and weaknesses in your story. In our office, we do this live after we think the story is ready. I pay for a staff member to take six people out to brunch and ask them to work the story into their meal at some point, and then report back their findings. The average word-of-mouth conversation in America is 32 seconds. A long and drawn-out conversation is four minutes, so we are not talking about being obtrusive. We are putting our story to the test because that is what your influencers will be doing every day. big data and WOMM Word-of-mouth marketing relies on stories, and you can find a wealth of stories in big data—if you ask the right questions. The challenge for marketers today is not a lack of up-to-the-minute consumer data, but that there is suddenly so darn much of it that CMOs are now drowning in data. To find the stories hidden inside your data, you must be specific about what you are looking for, ask the right questions, and spend some time. Tip: Break down your data and ask the right questions so that you can understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. When you look at data about your customers, you want to understand not only what interests them right now, but why. For example, a global cereal company wanted to know how its customers were reacting to the financial crisis of 2008. While sorting through reams of data, they noticed that consumers were concerned about the quality of their garage. When they looked at this insight more closely, they realized that consumers were buying in bulk and storing food in their garage. This allowed the company to extract a story that helped them make decisions on packaging—better glue seals, plastic storage bins, etc.—that their audience would find interesting, relevant, and authentic. When you discover the why, you can tailor your message more finely than any marketer could have dreamed of even ten years ago.  *http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under- the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html 01 http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/a_ new_way_to_measure_word-of-mouth_marketing 02 in the United States, ‘hairstylists’ routinely rank among the people most trusted by working women. GOOGLE HITS About 6,15,000 results BOOKS Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin. Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz. The Anatomy Of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen. AWARDS There is an annual WOMMY award ceremony, organised by Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) to recognize the industry’s best and most inspiring works. SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS YeahThatGreenville: The campaign by VisitGreenvilleSC received the 2014 Gold WOMMY award for best customer engagement and local economic development. It was designed to promote Greenville county as a special destination. RedBull: This beverage company had launched various word-of-mouth marketing techniques such as RedBull Wings Team who would interact with consumers directly; they are now launching apps to stay connected with the customers. FACTS what’s in a word? Wright