People tend to only remember the extraordinary. You need to ensure your ideas and marketing reflect the extraordinary. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, in fact, this could easily drive customers away. Rather, your product or service must be high quality and easily marketable, and then you work to market it as extraordinary and innovative.
As you research Word of Mouth (WOM), there are some questions you should be asking yourself along the way:
- What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
- Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
- What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
- What are the things they need to know, but are unwilling to ask?
- What happens when these issues are raised?
- Exactly what do your prospects have to know in order to trigger a purchase?
- Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
- How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
- How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
- What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers provide to your prospects?
- Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product reaching your target market and surviving WOM?
- What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace in order to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?
There are two main reasons why WOM research is so important:
- To get the real impression and feedback from customers;
- To define the term WOM itself and the concept it creates.
There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your WOM research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.
What this formula breaks down to is:
- 2 groups of customers;
- 2 focus groups of prospects;
- 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics).
In each of these groups you need to ask the following questions:
- What would you tell a friend?
- How would you persuade a skeptic?
- What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
- How would you respond to their objections?
The best way to conduct these groups is via teleconference to ensure you will get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. A teleconference medium also allows people to feel safe and more at ease expressing their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but by an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.
We’re going to transition a bit and look at how to construct a WOM campaign. First, we’ll take a look at the essential ingredients required to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:
- A superior product;
- A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace;
- A cadre of experts willing to go to bat for you;
- A substantial number of enthusiastic consumers;
- A way of reaching the right prospects;
- One or more compelling stories people will be eager to share to illustrate your product’s superiority;
- A way to substantiate, prove, or endorse your claims and how the product will function;
- A way for people to obtain a demo, sample, or free trial;
- A way of reducing overall risk with an ironclad guarantee.
Once you have the above components solidified, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong WOM program. Some of these situations include:
- When there are credibility problems;
- When there are breakthroughs;
- When there are marginal improvements;
- Where the product has to be tested in large numbers or over time;
- Where there is high risk in trying the product;
- With older or mature products that people tend to ignore even after they have been revitalized;
- With unfair competitive practices such as fabricating stories about your product;
- When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly.
While most of the WOM tactics are positive for your WOM program, the following is a list of products that you should avoid using in this program:
- Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value;
- Products that can’t be tested and where there is no consensus among experts;
- Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products;
- Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision;
- Products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume) the medium will not be cost-effective.
This concludes our post on WOM research and how to utilize that research when developing your WOM campaign. If you need help with your research and a plan to use the results of that research, please reach out to me for guidance.