Today I presented at WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), which is growing like a weed. Tivo recently joined which was the 300th member of this toddler association.
A couple interesting notes from the conference (I may share more later)...
Andy Sernovitz kicked off the conference with a passionate plea to maintain the ethics in the word of mouth industry. I'm very happy WOMMA is pushing this so hard. Although it's not a sexy topic, it is critical to maintain the authenticity of true customer evangelism. Schills will ruin the authenticity and credibility of word of mouth.
He also warned that we (those who drive and practice word of mouth marketing) can be seen as "Marketing Innovators" or "Wackos".
I think this rang true for me because I always went through a phase of being a wacko before I convinced people that a new program was 'innovative' and impactful.
As part of my presentation, I addressed the need to get buy-in from the organization to embrace new forms of marketing. You can assume others won't 'get it', because they are coming from a different perspective. They are buried in their own day to day operational processes and measurements, and they don't see the connection to a word of mouth program.
Part of the solution is to connect any new marketing program, including word of mouth, to their objectives. Outline the 'what's in it for me' question -- as relevant for customers as it is for colleagues and employees. It's all about incentives.
One of the first steps to buy-in is getting awareness and attention of those around you. Based on my experiences from startups and change leadership roles at Dell, here were three tips I shared to get "word of mouth on your word of mouth" program:
1) Choose influential allies at the top and bottom
As there are 10-15% of consumers that are influencer, so there are influencers inside an organization. Who is most commonly spreading the word on new ideas, stats, and driving the agenda(s) forward in your company? Set up 1x1s with these people, take them to lunch, send emails of articles, etc. Start to surround those people with your perspective, and let them take some ownership to share it with others.
2) Tell your story with interesting & amazing soundbytes
It's amazing how after several presentations I've made on a new program, that a colleague or upper executive will grab one soundbyte and tell it to others. This is great, because it serves as a foundation and a bridge to the opportunity for your program. The more interesting and amazing, and the tone and situation (get their attention) of how you present these, will make a difference. Use statistics, third party quotes, competitor impact stories, etc.
3) Enforce memorability and authority with visuals
People believe what they see on paper. People remember images. Get things in a presentation, in email, in printed paper when you talk in a 1x1. Reinforce the verbal with the visual.
The best thing you can do to get momentum is to get others to own your message. We know this about consumer word of mouth, but the same principles apply to internal word of mouth.