How do you embed word of mouth marketing in a company culture?
By Ted Wright January 13, 2020
Here is a great irony of word of mouth marketing. It is the oldest type of marketing known to the human race – we have always sold stuff by talking to others. And yet, in a modern company culture, it might be the most unfamiliar marketing option available to us.
And, embracing the unfamiliar, like any culture change, is hard.
WOMM and company culture
Embedding word of mouth marketing into a company culture is important, and it has to come from the top. It’s almost impossible to have a grassroots corporate culture change. The leader at the top of the organization who owns 1) the strategy and 2) the budget has to really understand and sponsor what is involved in the change. They have to ask about it and constantly show interest so that it’s a priority for the organization.
There are five problems every organization has when facing complex change: confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration, and false starts. The only way that you can overcome those is to have a vision, actively demonstrate that vision, provide an incentive to change, supply the resources needed to change, and create an action plan that will show measurable change.
In other words, change requires leadership.
The leadership imperative
Marketing has always been hard. Guess what? It’s getting harder. There are stories all over the news about CMOs losing their jobs. Part of the problem is a resistance to change, or perhaps confusion about how to change.
The old ways don’t work any more.
What do you do in a world where it is almost impossible to differentiate your product? How do you grow a vodka business where there is almost no discernible difference in ingredients, price, or packaging?
It’s the story. People buy a story. That what Tito’s Handmade Vodka did. Tito built a marketing culture around compelling stories and then working tirelessly to spread it. And today, he’s selling 1.7 million cases a year … without much of a difference in the product other than a) he has a story and b) he has the visionary leadership to consistently activate it.
Tito and other word of mouth marketing pioneers probably didn’t get it right straight out of the box. They had to experiment and iterate. But they started … and stuck with it.
Persistence and company culture
Eventually, you start seeing the progress from your word of mouth effort and those wins reinforce the cultural change. It’s important to build in those wins to keep the momentum.
Ultimately, there are two great drivers of cultural change. First, you’re broke, or heading in that direction. Second, you’re afraid of becoming broke in the future and so you push innovations to stay ahead of the game.
It is my hope that you are in camp number two. And if you are, Fizz is here to help. Give us a call and let’s explore ways we can drive growth for your business through a highly cost-effective word of mouth marketing plan.
Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth.