Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mastering Word of Mouth: Liveblog

Several of us are attending a word of mouth audio conference that includes: Andy Sernovitz of GasPedal; Mike Manuel of Voce, and the Dell Computer Vice President of Communities and Conversations, Bob Pearson. Here's what I hear as I hear it:

Bob Pearson:

Dell community starting do we solve customer problems online?

Theme: providing venues and tools for customers themselves and other customers in tech support....morphed to customer idea generation via Ideatorm site...everyone get smarter together...including Dell.

Importance of real conversations versus content dumping on customers.

Andy Sernovitz:

What is word of mouth marketing? Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for them to do it.

Sometimes we get obsessed with the 'how to make it easier' before thinking through the reason to talk.

A simple question to ask: Would anybody tell a friend about this? 

If the answer is no, then the idea is not good enough for a word of mouth approach...'no' means you have to do something unpleasant and boring: advertising or...PR.

Bob Pearson:

Avoid conference room think...if you are monitoring blogs and other customer-in ideas, then better batting average than when coming up wiht an idea and throwing it out there.

Mike Manuel:

Two most important things to do are: put yourself in a position to identify conversations...especially the conversations of influencers. Also, finding ways to implement new platforms for entering in the conversations (e.g., press release platform is failing).  [such as??]

Bob Pearson on issues management applications of WOM:

Radian 6 Blog monitoring software enables them to identify trends/issues that may be brewing...enables rapid response.

Andy Sernovitz:

Steps of a word of mouth campaign:

id talkers: whose going to talk
topics: what's the message
tools: how do you make it easy for talkers to spread the conversation
tracking: how do you monitor the conversation


Creating word of mouth that matters is a doesn;t happen without earning it.


Word of mouth includes both good and bad..there is now a permanent record in Google of bot good and bad that can become word of mouth fodder.

[...and now we get the two cents on twitter and other tools...argh and blahblah!!]

Q: How does reputation management fit in with--or differ from--word of mouth mktg?


Do you want to be part of shaping the brand via the conversations taking place or let your customers manage it for you?

Q: How does PR work in the word of mouth space (i.e., should you identify yourself?)?


Anyone talking about Dell business should identify themselves as Dell. Scripting isn;t real [authenticity!]. 


Blog Council [ ]has published a document on how to do disclosure the right way...bottom line is that you always disclose all the time...if you don;t consumers will ifnd out [transparency!]

Q: role of search in WOM?


Search becomes the archive of these conversations online...and so many start there, that they become the entry way to conversations that may or may not be update.

Q: Role of video in word of mouth?

Bob: is an example of aggrergating company, customer, and 3rd party reviews and perspectives on Dell products.


Video is difficult to get to work well if you haven;t defined the audience well and what they are willing to tolerate/engage [useful, usable, desirable!]

The Role of Infuencers in WOM


Talkers and owners are not necessarily the same people. Ferrari owners are not the folks who are going to be the talkers...its the people who wish they had one.

Creating opportunities for talkers to volunteer is a simple first step in identifying the influencers.


Dell forums have scales...some become MVPs or platinum levels. For various reasons these infuencers have chosen to be way to guess who they are, rather provide the atmosphere for them and then support those who step forward.

Q: How is word of mouth different for large and small companies?


I can't see alot of difference. We don;t look at our peers in understanding this...we look at Zappos and others. 


The biggest difference for big and small is that big companies are a little more complicated. For small companies is that you can try it...and see what works without spending alot of money. Try a word of mouth something every week.

Q: How to measure ROI of WOM?


Micromeasures...what does success look like in the Twitter site we created, the Facebook account, the blog?

Macromeasures...what are we trying to accomplish overall with all the elements [campaign measures].

[At this point the hour long audio conference was turned over to real live questions from more insightful than what's already been covered].

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