books - business 2008


The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

by Dave Balter & John Butman
founder of BzzAgent

from the flap… For the last few years, businesses have been obsessed with stimulating person-to-person conversation to counteract the declining effectiveness of traditional advertising. But it’s easier said than done. As the founder of BzzAgent, Dave Balter developed a strategy for driving authentic word-of-mouth in the real world. He’s a successful practitioner in a field previously dominated by armchair theorists.

here are my condensed flags as my library over-due fines mount…

pg 3 The marketer typically thought of word-of-mouth as coming about in a sequence: (a) conduct brilliant marketing campaign. (b) word of mouth will follow. … the traditional image was all wrong.

pg 8 Word-of-mouth is the honest, genuine sharing of real opinions and information about products and services. It can be stimulated and accelerated, but it can’t be controlled. Marketing mediums are not the same as real word of mouth.
WOM proliferates in unpredictable ways
– there are limited WOM windows
WOM is product storytelling
WOM doesn’t have to be positive to be good (negative WOM can add credibility to a product, and can bring out the quiet advocates, who can be even more powerful than everyday fans)
WOM is the basis for a new approach to marketing… WITH marketing is about companies allowing everyday people into their process… as opposed to traditional AT marketing

pg 29 The majority of agents were telling us that they were taking part in a BzzAgent WOM campaign for reasons that had nothing to do with our rewards or prizes. DontheIdeaGuy says there are two reasons why people become BzzAgents:
1. To get cool stuff first…. early adopters
2. A sense of being ‘in the loop’

pg 33 We stopped trying to figure out how to make the reward system better and more robust. We worked, instead, to make the communications more satisfying, to make people feel even better about their involvement in the network. (Amanda – insight here for staff referral programs!)

pg 92 When we started BzzAgent, we believed in the myth of the influentials. It took nearly a year of campaigns and thousands of interactions with BzzAgents for us to understand that mavens and high-profile influentials are effective in specific ways and in particular categories, but that most of the time, everyday people are better.

pg 115 Why are WOM stories so important? Because the stories are where the credibility of the product is created. Marketing stories can be delightful, clever, brilliant, charming, and hysterically funny. But often, they aren’t credible. That’s where WOM comes in.

pg 138 Negative feedback should always be listened to with great attention and shared throughout a company. Seeking it out should be paramount.

pg 142 The implication is that a company can overcome a great deal of negative reaction to a product or brand if it has a good process in place for listening and responding and takes positive action to fix its faults, just as Apple did with the iPod.

pg 154 As the result of the WOM campaign, Bruce said that he came to realize that NOLS had not been asking for enough help from its alumni, had not been doing enough to help NOLS grads talk about their experience with others, and hadn’t been communicating well enough about the benefits of the experience with prospective students. (Amanda: idea for Youth Team here… imagine a YouTube video with footage from the annual ‘show and tell’ event!)

pg 162 There’s only one little problem with it: you can’t measure it the way you have ever measured anything else. The reason? You can’t measure the middle. … you can measure the first interaction. Through feedback from your consumers, you can get a gauge of how many individuals have actually begun talking about the product. But after that, authentic WOM travels its own grapevine. … WOM is impossible to measure for many reasons.
… We know that WOM can and does increase sales. One way to show this is by comparing sales of a product in two similar markets: one with a WOM campaign, the other without. In 2004, we performed a study for Wharton School Publishing that did just this. … we found that in the cities with a WOM component sales were 66% higher than in the cities without a WOM campaign.

pg 170 in WITH marketing you don’t talk about capturing. You talk about listening. Targeting is a concept from the days of old. Now it’s about engaging.

more info visit www.bzzagent/grapevine

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