Crafting Purpose-focused Food & Lifestyle Brands

WOMMA: Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About, Part 1

I’m in Chicago today to attend the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association’s School of WOM conference. And how fitting it is that on my first night in town, at Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, I saw the man himself demonstrate an essential element of word of mouth marketing, i.e. providing an exceptional experience worth sharing.

Unannounced, Buddy showed up on stage to sing with the main act  (I play bass in a blues trio, so this was particularly exciting for me to see). All around me, people were taking photos, and posting what was going on to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After he mesmerized the crowd with a funny (and raunchy) number, he worked his way through the audience to the t-shirt counter where he posed for photos and signed autographs. T-shirt sales and album sales spiked at the gift counter!

What did Buddy provide that influenced the sales? A memorable experience, one worth sharing. In fact, I laid down $20 to get myself an autographed t-shirt, and I was not planning on buying a t-shirt!

Now, I’ve never promoted myself as a word of mouth marketing specialist, probably because as a content marketing evangelist getting people to talk about our clients has been a baked-in premise of our content strategies.

But, I’ve long advocated to clients that they use their web presence to “extend the experience” of their business, or non-profit, or agency through quality, highly relevant content. One objective that we’ve advised our clients to achieve is that they become the “definitive resource” on their product, service or cause category.

And why is that?

Because as a strategic imperative, when people ask a friend, neighbor or colleague a question about a product, a service or a cause, we want the answer to be “Go to so-and-so’s website … they’re the best resource on this subject matter.”

Our clients can generate that type of online word of mouth awareness through a quality experience delivered through quality content.

Our interest in “experience” as a marketing tactic led me to the book, The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore, a number of years ago. Their mantra of “work is theater, and every business is a stage” is a lesson we’re working more diligently to share with our clients to increase their own word-of-mouth marketing success.

The great blues and pop singer Bonnie Raitt sings “let’s give them something to talk about” in a song titled the same. How our clients can become better at providing “something to talk about” is what I’m here to learn more about at the School of WOM. I’m excited to be here!

In Part 2, I’ll sum up the key takeaways from today’s conference.