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Worthy and Worthless WOM

John Moore of the Brand Autopsy blog reprints Spike Jones' assessments of various word of mouth (WOM) ideas. Here they are, printed yet again:
  1. If you train your sales force in the ways of evangelism, they become better recruiters. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but not exactly a “go home and implement” tool.
  2. Make it easy for people to find you and tell people about you. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  3. Create a market advisory council. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  4. Use interesting stories to bring your WOM topics to life. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – your identity should already do that.
  5. Encourage your brand champions to tell two friends about you, not just one.SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – Give them something to talk about
  6. Do something unexpected and generous for your customers — send a free product (include an extra for them to pass along to a friend) just for being a valued customer.SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but you don’t have to bribe your customers, just surprise and delight
  7. Identify influentials using online social networking sites. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, depending on your views of “influentials”
  8. Reach the influencers that don’t raise their hand. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS
  9. Create experiences around your products and services. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  10. Be an evangelist for your evangelists (Send them framed versions of case studies you’ve done with them, blog about them, show them off in your newsletters.) SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  11. Use a memorable collectible as a dinner table centerpiece with the winner’s sticker on the bottom of their chair. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is just a sad gimmick, not a WOM tool
  12. Give your audience business card holders packed with ‘tell-someone’ referral cards.SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – another bad giveaway gimmick
  13. It’s not just marketing: embed WOM into your sales culture. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but not take home actionable.
  14. Use humor or “did you know” language to help consumers feel like they have something funny or unique to add to the conversation. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS
  15. Ask your customers to talk about you. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is WOM creationism!
  16. Hide it. Discovery is a trigger for WOM, so make your tool or marketing message hard to find and you’ll create something people will want to talk about and share. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  17. Leverage provocative content to make everyday product talk-worthy. SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHY
  18. Ensure you get the best ideas by engaging your WOM agency early in a paid consulting role. SPIKE SAYS:WORTHLESS as a WOM tool, but great advice nonetheless!
  19. Make friends with some bloggers (they don’t even have to be famous). SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY – but I would add, “and don’t ask them for favors.“
  20. Give your evangelists something to talk about. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  21. Give out your marketing collateral in something noticeable that gets people talking. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – another gimmick
  22. Create a story and let consumers share their best stories of interactions with your product or service. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  23. Create a VIP customer pool and use it. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  24. Make it easy for people to easily spread the word about you (Create a button for their blog or web site, a card or CD they can pass along to a friend, or build a ‘tell a friend’ option.) SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  25. Release exclusive content (”insider information”) and let your avid customers react and interact with it. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  26. Create clever 30-second virals and post to your home page. SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHY – in this day and age of viral saturation, it’s gonna have to be either really great or really relevant to be effective.
  27. Take a cue from gossip rags such as InFocus or US Weekly and use surveys to add interesting facts to your WOM stories. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is just a tiny add-on.
  28. Let your customers create — provide ways to make it easy for consumers to customize and show off their creativity. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  29. Use ‘free or low-charge’ release services to announce new products and services like Soflow, 24-7 PR, PR Leap, PR Free. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS – this is cheep PR, not WOM.
  30. Let your evangelists know you’re listening. (Comment on their blogs, invite them to webinars or to your office for a VIP Tour and to meet the product or service teams, schedule meet-ups in cities and invite your customers to attend). SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  31. Measure results, not actions.SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY – a lot of WOMM is touchy-feely, which is important, but we’re also here to drive sales.
  32. Put the right tools in the hands of your most influential consumers to help them tell your story.SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  33. Bring your most loyal customers on the inside by involving them in your product development or marketing initiatives. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  34. Poll your sales force for good closing stories, then edit and distribute to use as testimonials. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS as far as WOM goes, but a good idea.
  35. Create a customer community of your most loyal customers. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  36. If you’re going to give something away for free, focus on quality merchandise that influencers value and seed it in the places they naturally frequent. SPIKE SAYS: Barely WORTHY
  37. Set the table for WOM to occur by giving your customers tools to initiate it. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  38. Join in the conversation (and start one if needed). SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  39. Tap into people’s sociability to propel WOM. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but how?
  40. Identify “portable conversations” to give your advocates something to talk about. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHLESS
  41. Use the Buddy System and partner with your evangelists to work together on bigger projects. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY, but I think this same idea is listed above?!?
  42. Partner with evangelists and create opportunities for them to sing your praises. SPIKE SAYS: WORTHY
  43. Print referral cards which customers can give to their friends. SPIKE SAYS: Borderline WORTHLESS
Many of these ideas are relevant only to your PR and marcom people, but product managers sometimes need to incorporate them in the product's requirements.


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