DIY WOMM? Sure.
By Ted Wright April 4, 2019
By Scott Jenson
I sell (insert thing here), how can I use WOMM to sell more stuff to more people?
The easy answer is to hire our team of professional Word of Mouth Marketers at Fizz, we’ve created a proprietary system that determines what is unique about your brand and we’re pretty good at doing the grunt work of telling those stories.
Or, you can try to do it yourself.
But, I can tell you that it takes a completely different approach than most marketers are used to. I ran a WOMM campaign for the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company in the early ‘10’s that was founded on one simple principal: “If consumers can see you living your company’s values through deeds and actions, they will feel more connected to your values and will choose your products.” On paper, the campaign looked very expensive and lacked a lot of consumer interaction.
It should be noted that due to the nature of working with tobacco, marketing is strictly relegated to Adult Only Facilities (AOFs) and your primary tool (besides couponing, and print ads in adult oriented publications) is 1 to 1 conversations with consumers. What we proposed was a program rooted in serving the communities that purchased SFNTC’s products through community outreach. Cleaning up cigarette butt litter in nightlife areas, volunteering in community cleanups, transforming urban landscapes through creating green spaces, volunteering at local co-ops and organic gardens, and having a space to host community events with activists.
It’s a testament to SFNTC’s desire to live their values that we ever convinced them to launch the program, but it paid off. We were able to boost sales in their markets by double digits, and our third-party research company verified WOM with engaged consumers in the 20X range.
What’s your story?
You can do this as well. All you need to do is figure out what the story of your brand/product is, and how to tell it in a way that is interesting, relevant, and authentic.
Then, you tell that story to the right group(s) of advocates, sometimes through simple deeds and actions, and watch your business grow. It seems simple, but oftentimes you can’t see the forest but for the trees when trying to determine the special sauce that makes your brand unique.
It’s also difficult for some companies to put trust in an invisible network when the benefits of advertising seem so tangible. And WOMM takes work. It means getting out and having those conversations. And yet this can be so much more effective than some pop-up ad on the internet!
The big mistake today here is hinging a campaign on an advertising sound bite — something that is sexy but inauthentic. At worst, an advertising campaign built around a soundbite can become a reason for consumers to not trust your brand.
Compare an advertising sound bite with an authentic experience that you can create for a consumer, something where the story of your brand is not just a tagline but something deeply imbedded in an experience. Consumers are more likely to talk about things that have happened to them or their own experiences, and if there is a message about your brand that is expressed through those experiences, then that message can be retold in thousands of different ways with a much more powerful impact.
So whether you sell widgets or wingsuits, your goal should be to create experiences that spark conversations, and that is within reach of almost any business.
Scott Jenson is a marketing manager for Fizz who has worked with iconic national and global brands including Coca Cola, Adult Swim, Kauai Coffee and Primo Water. A Marine Corps veteran, survivor of the music industry in the mid-2000’s, and former holder of many titles with the words “Brand,” “Strategy,” and “Marketing,” Scott holds an MBA from the University of Tampa as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from a tiny college that nobody has ever heard of.