FREE Snippets from “Word of Mouth Marketing”


My friend Andy Sernovitz (Director of Word of Mouth Marketing Association) was kind enough to send me a draft of his upcoming book (November 1) "Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking."

Guy Kawasaki recently submitted a "book preview" on his blog and 10 snippets from his book. I’ll one up that with this blog title that I hoped would get your attention!

Andy’s book is broken into two parts: The Essential Concepts and How to Do it. His writing style is very easy to read and follow. Andy brings in many examples (some presented in Guy’s review). The most important thing I can say of this book is it clearly articulates why Word of Mouth is big now and what to do about it. Andy presents a clear case to present to any CEO or CMO on why they should think differently about their marketing…and most importantly, their customers. Then he follows with practical tips and strategies (including "16 Sure-Thing, Must-Do, Awfully Easy Word of Mouth Marketing Techniques"). I can’t think of anyone better to write this book than Andy, who is always passionate and practical.

Here are some of my favorite snippets from the book:

Definition of WOM: Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for that conversation to take place.


Earn the respect and recommendation of your customers, and they will do the rest. Treat people well; they will do your marketing for you, for free. Be interesting, or be invisible.


Rule #1: Be Interesting
Rule #2: Make People Happy
Rule #3: Earn Trust and Respect
Rule #4: Make It Easy


When I was single, there was no better date restaurant than Otello’s in Washington, D.C. When I showed up with a woman, Introduction xxi the owner would come out before the meal with a big, “It is soooo good to see you again. We are soooo happy you are here.” (Of course, he had no idea who I was.) After dinner, he’d produce two glasses of cheap wine, on the house. This guy knew how to make sure you looked like a high roller.


I love Mario’s Barbershop in Chicago. When I go in with my two-year-old son, they offer me a cocktail. They offer him a toy car. It’s a guy place. No one ever accepts their drinks, but it’s a blast to hang out with Mario, Zoran, and Bobby. Those drinks are a reason to talk. I tell the other dads at daycare. It comes up at parties. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a haircut. The result: A line of dads and toddlers out the door every Saturday. (A Supercuts on the same block is deserted.)


Seth Godin calls it being “remarkable” in his book Purple Cow. (Note: Federal law requires all new marketing books to mention Seth Godin at least once.) Remarkable means worth remarking on, worth saying something about. It’s the root concept of word of mouth marketing.


Only about 20 percent of word of mouth happens online. When it does play a role, it usually sparks the 80 percent of word of mouth conversations that actually happen face to face.


A lot of that talk is happening online. Research from Pew Internet reports that 32 million people are posting content to message boards, and Technorati reports that 13 million people blog weekly.


Word of Mouth is “CtoC” Marketing Actually, it’s BtoCtoC. Your job as a marketer is to put out an idea worth talking about. That’s marketing. When a real person repeats it, that’s word of mouth. It’s about the second hop (and the third hop, and the fourth hop, and so on).


This is called organic word of mouth — word of mouth that springs naturally from the positive qualities of your company. Many experts would argue that this is the only legitimate form of word of mouth. The opposite concept is amplified word of mouth — word of mouth that is started by an intentional campaign to get people talking. I like the organic methods better, but I’ll talk about both.


Word of mouth is the feedback loop that forces marketers to pay attention to the consumer. It brings advertisers out of isolation and forces them to confront the reality of the impact that their products and marketing have on real people. It puts the consumer at the head of the boardroom table. Word of mouth marketing protects consumers by giving them a voice. This kind of marketing gives a powerful platform to consumers, and makes marketers listen. It empowers consumers by engaging with them online and the real world. It gives people the power to voice their dissatisfaction and expose dishonesty.

We’re the marketers who have learned to listen. Word of mouth marketers don’t have a choice. We can’t do what we do unless consumers are happily willing to relay our message. So we’re getting good at making them happy. Word of mouth is on the rise because marketers have finally begun to understand that a happy customer is the greatest advertisement.

6 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great read.
    I love the comment about the owner making the visitor look like a high roller. Who wouldn’t come back there time and time again for important occasions: whether it was personal or professional.

  2. What *is* WOM, anyway?

    WOM. Word of Mouth. Marketers think they can spontaneously create it. But to expand on a truism from Andy Sernovitz’s new book, Word of Mouth Marketing (via Sam Decker’s excellent blog) … In reality, customers create WOM. To quote Decker

  3. The Word or WOM

    By now we’ve all heard about Word-of-Mouth marketing (see, it works!). But do you know how to use it to transform your business and change your fortunes practically overnight? If the answer is ‘no’ don’t worry. Hot on the heals…

  4. Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

    I understand a new book is coming out on Word of Mouth Marketing – I already pre-ordered my copy with Amazon. According to Craig Danuloff: By now weve all heard about Word-of-Mouth marketing (see, it works!). But do you know…

  5. panasianbiz says:

    I was very interested in your comments about this upcoming book, and I have made a note to look for it when it is released. As someone who is trying to learn more about marketing, I appreciate the fact that you say the writing style is easy to read and follow. Thanks for alerting us to this one!

  6. Kind words from Sam Decker

    Sam is a pioneer of the word of mouth world (and still one of the leaders). He wrote a book ten years ago called “How to Market With Computer User Groups” that talked about some of the core concepts that…

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