Why I’m passionate about word of mouth marketing
By Ted Wright March 25, 2019
By Ted Wright
I could have gone a lot of different ways in my career, but I wanted to talk a little today about why I have devoted my professional life to the craft of word of mouth marketing.
Bottom line … It’s just so cool!
I think people are very interesting, and I think how people communicate is very interesting.
For example, how does a joke get transmitted from New York to LA? We know it happens. We can observe the results. But how? And why? Figuring out those patterns is endlessly fascinating to me.
How is it that certain people know that you can knock on a secret door in their city and get into an exclusive club?
There are all sorts of communication patterns like that happening all the time. It’s been occurring for at least 2,000 years. And I’m just constantly curious about how those patterns occur.
Seeing the vampires
That was the best thing about the earliest days of the field of word of mouth marketing – figuring it all out. Discovering if we could influence those conversation patterns toward a result. Can we tell who is going to carry the message forward? Who is taking that thing from New York to L.A.?
There’s this old movie. Somebody had a super power where he could see the vampires in a crowd. People would be walking down a crowded street and this person could zero in on the vampires.
That is sort of the power I wanted to create for word of mouth. Can you identify the people and the groups and the network affects and patterns and have this emerge from the crowds? Could you watch the influence move from place to place?
Or, if I could actually see the vampires that would be kind of cool too. That would have been my first choice for a back-up career.
Word of mouth is like solving a mathematical problem (I was a math major). Sometimes you don’t know why something is working, but you can infer clues from the results. Like math, it’s about pattern recognition and trying to distill some new truth from the patterns.
And when you finally understand why certain results are happening, there is nothing more exciting.
I’m also passionate about word mouth because it’s so relevant. For thousands of years this is how things worked in the world, how news spread. Then the broadcast era started with radio in the 1920s and eventually television. There was a new, more efficient way to communicate.
When the internet came into existence, the broadcast model got a little wobbly. The power was moving to the people again. They could be hyper-connected to their friends and new patterns emerged.
Word of mouth has always been an underlying factor and it always will be, but it is undergoing a sort of a renaissance. As we become addicted to our screens and spend more time on line, the relative rarity of WOM holds more power over our opinions than ever before.
It never gets old!
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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