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How to be a Genius at Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Written By: Mariya 20 July 2010 Other Posts By: Mariya

Face it. As a scrappy entrepreneur, you can barely afford to pay for AdWords campaigns, much less put up a billboard for your company in Times Square. Enter Word of Mouth Supergenius, a conference with an impressive lineup of media and marketing gurus all sharing their most effective tips for building buzz about your brands and empowering your followers. For those of you unable to front the $750 conference fee (including yours truly), the event’s liveblogging crew and twitter contributors have been absolutely meticulous in covering the event. With their help, I’ve been able to compile some very actionable takeaways you can work with right away:

Use 3 Steps to Create Buzzworthy Topics

Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence

1) Every marketing campaign focuses on either People, Product, or Promotion. Decide what makes your company remarkable and what experience you want your customers to have. For example, Zappos sells the same shoes as everyone else. Their people are the remarkable part. In personally responding to tweets, the Old Spice guy wasn’t talking about Old Spice but creating engagement. That’s effective promotion.

2) Once you choose your category, find a good emotional trigger. Appeal to people’s curiosity, sense of belonging, or desire to be exclusive.

3) Finally, tell a shareable story on any platform. Be wary that some stories are entertaining but don’t translate across mediums. In the recent Old Spice campaign, you had a TV guy responding personally on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Read more about how the Old Spice campaign might be the perfect branding campaign.

Create Buzz with Zero Budget

Saul Colt, Thoora

Saul Colt of Thoora is quite the genius at marketing on the cheap. You’ll have to ask him personally if you want to know how he got his company a billboard in Times Square for $3. For now, here are some of his tips for generating buzz without depleting your wallet:

1) Live the life of your customers. Fight for what they care about and be an advocate for their voice.

2) Engage your customers and leverage dead inventory. For example, Zipcar employees in Canada had no budget for a holiday party, so they bartered Zipcards and threw a concert for all their customers.

3)  Do interesting things by keeping your eyes open. Force people to ask questions. Make them scratch their heads. Try 100 things. It’s okay if no one shows up. For ideas on inexpensive marketing tactics, try some of Windsor One’s suggestions and see what sticks: http://www.spaghettionthewall.com/

4) Last but not least: Execute. Extraordinary. Experiences. Every day!

Be sure to check out the full liveblog coverage of Saul’s talk.

Measure the Impact of Social Media Marketing

Olivier Blanchard, BrandBuilder

When you’re working with a lean startup, you need to measure your marketing efforts in order to optimize the use of your very limited capital. I’ve been to a ton of media-oriented events this year, from Internet Week to the Mashable Media Summit to Social Media Day. The savvy advertisers and PR reps I meet are constantly telling me about how difficult it is to get buy-in for social media campaigns from their bosses or companies who are only interested in the bottom line. While many social media metrics are non-financial (i.e. # of followers), Olivier shows discrete ways to correlate them with revenues. I’ve provided a summary of them below, but check out his presentation for an entertaining and detailed explanation of his approach.

1) Social Media is not free. It takes people, technology, and time. Justifying the costs involves proving you will either reduce the company’s costs or generate more revenue, so be sure you can articulate the ROI for your marketing efforts.

2) Keep in mind Frequency, Reach, and Yield. Know how often customers interact (F), how many customers you reach (R), and how much they spend (Y)

3) First establish a baseline against which to measure your improvement. Then create activity timelines across your social media efforts. Compare against financial measures, such as sales revenue, transactions, and new customer acquisition, etc, and look for precursors and patterns. Check out Olivier’s slides for more discrete steps to this process.

Become a Supergenius Blogger

Dana VanDen Heuvel, Marketing Savant

Perhaps you’ve decided that knowing how to generate and measure buzz isn’t enough. Maybe you think you’ve got what it takes to be a thought leader and launch a successful enterprise blog. If so, Dana’s advice on How to Create and Promote Your Blog (slides, liveblog) will be indispensable to you. He covers several bad habits of inefficient bloggers (many of which I’m guilty of) and suggests a number of unconventional tools and approaches to streamlining the creation of engaging content.

Cautions for Aspiring Bloggers

1) If you can’t produce quality content on a regular basis, don’t start a blog. If you can’t bring some thought leadership, don’t bother. If you don’t have a unique POV, find one!

2) Have clear objectives for your blogging and metrics around them. Know your audience and know yourself before you start

Characteristics of Supergenius Bloggers

1) They love what they do and have energy & motivation

2) They have the drive to teach with no strings attached

3) They reach out and communicate to everyone

4) They take risks with messaging

5) They balance confidence with curiosity & learning and are open to learning from everyone

6) They put in the time today for tomorrow’s benefit

7) They never stop working, connecting, and communicating

The Supergenius Blogger Process

Tune In – Good writing starts with good listening. Subscribe to and consume content, whether it be customer comments, industry chatter, twitter, etc.   Form social networks around the topics that engage you. Know that 90% of great content will come from offline, so be sure to get out from behind the computer in order to tap the best learning opportunities.

Create, Remix & Synthesize – Vary your voice (funny, confrontational) and vary your content (informational, instructional, interviews, etc).  Create tangible digital resources your readers can take away.

Share, Link, Guide & Comment – Figure out what your audience wants and pass along relevant news. Don’t be a solo writer, guide others to write. This is an easy, time-conscious way to stay relevant without creating original content. Build a blog hub where all your content is organized.

Syndicate and Synchronize – Make your content work for you. Find other sites you can post on. Find guest bloggers and guest blog for others.

The Word of Mouth Supergenius conference is organized by GasPedal and focuses on delivering specific, hands-on lessons and case studies on essential word of mouth skills. No theory or jargon-infested speeches here! If you attended the conference today, I’m interested in hearing what you learned. Feel free to share your insights below or engage me on Twitter.

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  • http://www.danavan.net danavan

    Hey Mariya!,

    Wow, thanks for the AWESOME recap of the Supergenius talk on blogging. I hope that you enjoyed the talk and the conference as a whole.

    Dana

  • http://blog.gannettlocal.com/2010/09/09/small-marketing-budget-launch-a-word-of-mouth-campaign/ Small Marketing Budget? Launch a Word of Mouth Campaign! |

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