The skills I look for in word of mouth marketing talent
By Ted Wright July 22, 2019
By Ted Wright
The most important thing we do at Fizz is finding ways to transmit customer stories in authentic, interesting, and relevant ways. And while the “what” behind the story is essential, the “who” in the delivery of that story is also critical to our success. So an essential part of our job is finding the right word of mouth marketing talent.
Our agency employs dozens of word of mouth marketing specialists around the country to make our customer’s marketing dreams come true. We’re almost always on the lookout for talent and hiring the right person is so critical to making our business work.
Today I thought I would spend some time unpacking what I look for in the very best word of mouth marketing talent.
The most important thing!
The average tenure for one of our WOMM manager is nearly five years so we’ve done a good job matching our customer marketing needs with the right skill set.
Here is one of the first questions I ask a job candidate: “When you’re at a party, and you’re talking to people, does that conversation add energy, or does that conversation to take energy out of you?
If the answer is, “add energy,” then that is almost a sure sign of the authentic advocate personality we’re looking for. They will sort of look at you funny and say, “why of course it ADDS ENERGY!” They love telling stories and it’s unimaginable to them that it could be any other way.
If you’re not a natural storyteller, by the second hour of the party you’re ready to go. We’re looking for people with boundless enthusiasm for telling a good tale.
It’s a natural skill
What I find is that the people we hire LOVE what they do because it is such a natural fit for the personality. Certain people are born to be word of mouth marketing stars. They fall in love with the product or service that has been assigned to them and they can’t wait to hit the road with their story.
The response is usually … “Oh my God. Somebody is paying me money to do this???”
Now I don’t want to overlook the fact that we also need smart people with a good business sense. They have to be responsible and diligent with the reporting that goes along with our responsibilities to the customer. But the biggest part of the job is sharing stories and that is just part of their DNA.
Unexpected word of mouth marketing talent success
Another thing I’ve learned after hiring hundreds of people over the years is that you cannot always judge a book by their cover!
Passionate, natural storytellers come in all shapes and flavors.
An example of this — Years ago, we were working for a mid-level clothing retailer in California. And this woman shows up to an interview in her $70,000 white Lexus convertible and she’s dressed to kill.
I’m thinking: “No way. This is not going to fit for the denim jean demographic we’re after.” I thought the interview was over before it even started.
But then I learned that after college she was an assistant manager at a Target store in the jean department and she was actually a student of the scene.
She proceeded to give me a PhD level dissertation on Japanese selvedge denim — its history, why it’s cool and the six most important competing brands and why they’re different.
And she was an expert on the social scene in Los Angeles. I asked her to tell me about the coolest clubs in L.A. and she said, “Do you mean the ones that are open now or the ones that are opening in the next six months?”
She was one of the best hires we ever made.
So the DNA of the powerful storyteller can come from anyone and anywhere, in any culture and any demographic group. You just have to identify that passion and give them the stories that will unleash it.
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.