Three organizational requirements for successful word of mouth marketing

By Ted Wright April 1, 2019

By Ted Wright

I’ve discussed word of mouth marketing with hundreds of companies and there are certainly patterns you can see where it works and where it doesn’t.

Here are the three ideal organizational requirements for successful word of mouth marketing:

1. Openness to innovation

You have to like to try to do new things. If you are locked into television advertising because that’s just what you do year after year, it will be difficult to support word of mouth.

Being open to innovation also means being willing to support innovation for the long-haul. You have to have the financial strength to be patient. If you need new cash flow RIGHT NOW, then word of mouth is absolutely the wrong strategy.

Look at Google. They want to send somebody to Mars. That sort of patient investment can only come with an openness to an innovation and the financial stability to be patient.

I could triple our revenue by lying to people and promising quick results. But organic conversations spread in their own way, on their own time, not according to a quarterly plan. It does work, but it requires the time.

2. Political stability

Change is a death knell for new.

When managers change, the first thing they want to do is cut the weird stuff, or least what they perceive to be the weird stuff. That’s human nature I suppose.

But a good leader has to watch out for that and be able to protect innovations and long-term investments even when the new people come in.

Word of mouth is a long-term play and somehow the organization has to surround the effort with stability, so it has time to work.

3. Appropriate sponsorship

The effort has to be sponsored at a level that controls all the resources necessary to get the job done. If you’re not working at that level, then you’ll have to be constantly selling the idea to other parts of the organization who need to come on board.

This does not necessarily have to be sponsored at the CMO or any C-level for that matter. Many companied have a person responsible for trying new things, for experimenting. That is certainly a successful model if the person controls the resources to get the job done.

So those are a few of my thoughts from my experience. I hope that helps you think about your own organization and its readiness around these organizational requirements for successful word of mouth marketing

Ted Wright

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.

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