[post from Lisa Roberts, Director of Marketing]

Tuesday we hosted a great webinar with Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. As one of the pioneers of "word of mouth marketing", it was especially interesting to hear him define the term. As Andy says, word of mouth marketing is "giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for the conversation to take place". We all know that word of mouth is not a new concept, but it has historically been generated by "experts" or celebrities in a very controlled way. Peoples' buying habits have evolved, and the "experts" are now simply "people like me". Companies today must re-focus their marketing strategies to promote good products, evolve them in a way that is most useful to customers, and give customers the tools to spread the word about their experiences. As Brett said, "The barrier to converse has been significantly reduced." The permanent record that your customers create can make or break your product and brand.

We also talked with Andy about the "5 T's" that he suggests companies think about when implementing or improving their word of mouth strategy. There were two points that really stuck with me:

  1. The first step is to find "Talkers"; people who will talk about your product. As Andy points out, this is not generally your regular customer that interacts with your brand/products all the time. This is often your new customer. This is someone who has just experienced what you have to offer and is excited to share their opinions. Of course, it can also be your regular customer experiencing something new about your product. If so, you want to make sure it's something they have asked for and that further supports all the reasons why they're already one of your loyal customers.
  2. Negative reviews provide many opportunities for a very positive user experience. This is something Sam wrote about a couple weeks ago. Negative reviews can help another customer make a more satisfactory purchase decision, can help a manufacturer improve a product in a very distinct and focused way, or can provide the opportunity for a company to "Take Part" and simply say "we hear you and we're going to try to improve". 

Check out all of the webinar slides on Slideshare. We're also happy to share the full webinar with audio if you email lisa @ bazaarvoice.com for the download link, username, and password.

Andy also covered this on his blog.

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