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Effective Word Of Mouth Tactics – Part VIII


The latest X-Men movie brought in over $300 million when it debuted over the recent holiday weekend.

Even if you didn’t go see the film, chances are outstanding that you heard of it at some point during their nearly-year-long marketing campaign.

Modern “blockbuster” movies routinely cost upwards of $100 million to make, so it makes sense that the studios invest tens of millions more into getting people to show up when they hit theaters.

This “launch” concept of movie marketing often includes everything from print and television ads to elaborate trailers and videos, websites, billboards, posters, social media campaigns, promotional partnerships with restaurants, toys, soft drinks, etc., appearances by actors on TV shows, at events and in interviews, and much, much more.

All of this hype and craziness builds to a crescendo as the Opening Day of the film approaches. But then it all practically disappears completely once the film comes out.

That’s when they let Word Of Mouth take over. All of the time, energy and money invested into the promotion of any film becomes relatively meaningless once people have actually seen it.

If Word Of Mouth (known in the entertainment industry as “buzz”) is positive, people will continue to go see the movie. But if word gets around that the movie is a dud, then no amount of paid marketing can rescue it.

As far as this latest X-Men movie goes, both expert reviews and reaction from paying movie-goers has been tremendously positive. So while you’ll see A LOT less marketing and promotion of the film, it’s likely to keep raking in the cash at box offices around the world.

You’re probably not in the business of marketing multi-million dollar major motion pictures, but there’s certainly a lot you can learn about effectively marketing your business from studying and modeling this “blockbuster launch” process – instead of just doing what everyone else in your industry typically does to get customers, clients or patients.

Today I’m going to help you maximize your Word Of Mouth messages by helping you understand the different ways they are delivered, how you can influence them and how you can publicize them.

First, you need to understand that there are essentially three main types of Word Of Mouth:

  1. Expert to Expert
  2. Expert to Prospect/Customer
  3. Prospect/Customer to Prospect/Customer

You’ll usually receive an amazing rush of new and repeat business whenever experts talk about your products or services in a positive way, so of course that’s one of the best things that can happen to you.

How can you improve your chances of this happening? One effective strategy is to offer free products or services to experts for them to experience and review. Take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, and you’ll help your revenue and profits explode.

*BONUS TIP: Besides the obvious advantage of having experts talking about you and your business, their opinions can also lead to new ideas that will help to fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company.

The typical Word Of Mouth delivery system can take years to produce results, in most cases. Here are the three steps in the typical, slow Word Of Mouth system:

  1. First impressions from an expert
  2. Organized trial of your products or services
  3. Pooling expert and customer experiences

But you can speed this entire process up tremendously by implementing this two-part strategy:

1. First, it’s important for you to know exactly who is advocating for your products and services. Take the time to find out who they are, then reward them. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top.

*BONUS TIP: You should already have a customer service system for handling complaints – but do you have one for gathering and publishing praise? Sadly, the overwhelming majority of companies do not.

Here are just a few of the things you can offer Experts and other Raving Fans to show your appreciation:

  • An invitation to a customer appreciation dinner
  • To record and publish their testimonials and success stories
  • To interview them for their feedback (including a promise to value it and a reward for their participation)
  • A premier level of service or membership
  • An invitation to join a referral incentive program

2. Once you know who is raving about you, you should go all out to spread any and all positive feedback you get, in every way you can.

Of course, “new” media is all the rage these days. If you spread your positive Word Of Mouth messages using social media, including pictures and videos, you can get very quick and powerful results.

You can also use traditional media. Resources such as television, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines are all still effective, even though they’ve lost a little of their luster over the last few years, for three main reasons:

  1. They can be expensive, and don’t necessarily return results
  2. They can be seen as “boring” or “old-fashioned”
  3. The limits on time and/or space can prevent you from providing enough information to communicate your message effectively

No matter what media you choose to use, the key to making it work for you is to make sure that your message is:

  1. Presented it in the right sequence;
  2. Produced from the right sources;
  3. Relevant to the target customer;
  4. Credible;
  5. Delivered at the right time; and
  6. Delivered in the right medium.

Finally, no matter what methods you choose to spread all the positive Word Of Mouth you receive from both experts and raving fans, make sure you go all out to maximize it.

Here’s a psychological trick you can use to get yourself taking massive ACTION: Visualize yourself as having the responsibility to create the enormous hype and buzz necessary to properly promote a Hollywood blockbuster film that cost $200 million to produce.

Now go and promote your own business as if you possessed the superpowers of all of the X-Men put together!

2 Responses to Effective Word Of Mouth Tactics – Part VIII

  1. Phil Brakefield Reply

    May 28, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Great post, Steve.

    Your analysis of ways to generate/speed up word of mouth is fabulous, but sometimes, even those ways are trumped by the organic variety of WOM!

    I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about movies that absolutely stunned me. It maintained that The Shawshank Redemption is the number 1 money-making movie of all time, ahead of the ones like Titanic, The Godfather(s), etc., that one always hears about…and its popularity has all been generated by word of mouth. Rental and DVD sales remain so strong that the guy who played the warden in the movie STILL receives in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year in residuals!

    Ironically, the movie got very little pre-release promotion, was a blistering dud when it opened, and disappeared from theaters very quickly.

    BUT, word of mouth caught fire and 20 years later it still is generating huge cash.

    I say we make a movie and see if we can replicate the Shawshank model.

  2. Steve Sipress Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I am Word Of Mouth-agnostic. It’s all good, any way you can get. Sure, you can wait 20 years to get it naturally, or you can implement some of what I’m teaching in this series and create it yourself now. Or both.

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