We have been trained by our universities, advertising agencies, and corporate America to think about marketing in terms of campaigns. We need a “spring promotion” or a “Christmas sale”.
It’s amazing how many companies have approached me asking if I can implement a campaign that will give them word of mouth among their customers. Collectively, we believe that, like an ad campaign, marketing can be turned on and turned off at will. Unfortunately, consumers are like children – they often don’t do what they are told.
Marketing doesn’t happen in campaigns. Word of mouth doesn’t happen in campaigns. The choice to implement a word of mouth strategy means a fundamental, long-term shift in the way you do business. It means, first, producing a product or service worth talking about, delivering a premium and unique customer experience, and then helping your customer base tell other people about it. It is not a strategy that bumps up your quarterly earnings reports, but increases your long-term profitability and brand.
Stephen Covey’s analogy of the goose and the golden egg is especially applicable. You take care of the goose (your customer) and it will take care of the golden eggs for you. If your goose is sick, it may take a little while to nurse it back to health before it is well on its way to becoming an egg producer for you.
Just ask Fisher’s Document Systems if 2006 was easy for them. They almost completely turned over their sales department. They completely overhauled how they service their customers. They even went back to having a live person answer the phone. Add it all together and it equals a significant increase in not only revenue, but bottom line profit.
That is what word of mouth “marketing” can do for you. It only works if you are willing to fundamentally change how you think about your customers and how you do business. It only works if you give people something to talk about.