Should you outsource word of mouth marketing or keep it in-house?
By Ted Wright May 27, 2019
By Ted Wright
Should you outsource word of mouth marketing or keep it within the walls of your organization?
We see in the news that many types of marketing are coming back in-house these days, so I think an interesting topic is how this applies to word of mouth. Should this be an in-house competency, or out-sourced to an agency?
I think the answer really depends on what you want to spend your money on, and the scale of the enterprise.
At their height before they sold to Coca Cola, I think about one-third of Honest Tea’s headcount was made up of people in the field doing word of mouth marketing.
I think at one time, they had about 1,300 employees total and at least 300 or 400 people were spreading the stories about the Honest Tea products in the field.
And it worked, and the brand became huge and eventually was bought by Coca-Cola. So WOMM was core to the very essence of the brand as a start-up.
Since this was core to the brand, it made sense to invest in that competency.
The role of scale
Scale also plays a big part in this decision. I would say if you are doing less than $10 million in top line revenue, you should be doing all of your word of mouth in-house. And the company leadership, and the people who started the company, should be the ones who are out there most often.
This is because nobody can tell your story better than you can, even if you don’t really like telling the story. You don’t have to be great at talking to people, you just have to love your product and want to have conversations with people.
Tell your story
Trust in brands and advertising has declined 10 years in a row. But people trust entrepreneurs and company owners, so hearing from a founder is very effective.
Now, practically speaking, it is hard to keep that momentum going once the brand exceeds $10 million in revenue. The company typically becomes more stratified, more departmentalized, the founder probably can’t be out there in the field like she used to.
That’s our sweet spot at Fizz because we’ve focused – obsessed really – with the practice and execution of the job if you outsource word of mouth. We can take over and lead in a highly concentrated and attentive manner, using state of the art best practices.
WOMM is certainly trending up, but it is still unfamiliar for many brands. For an established company, out-sourcing to Fizz is like adding an entirely new marketing competency and that makes a lot of sense.
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.