People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is entirely out of the norm, in fact, this could quickly drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and readily marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new.
As you research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:
What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
- Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
- What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
- What are the things they need to know, but are unwilling to ask?
- What happens when these issues are raised?
- Precisely what do your prospects have to know to trigger purchase?
- Exactly how do your customers answer your prospects’ objections, concerns, and qualms?
- How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
- How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
- What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers suggest to your prospects?
- Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
- What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?
There are two main reasons why word-of-mouth research is so important:
- To get a real impression and feedback from customers
- To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates
A simple formula can help you conduct your word-of-mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.
What this breaks down to is:
- 2 groups of customers
- 2 focus groups of prospects
- 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)
In these groups you need to ask the following questions:
- What would you tell a friend?
- How would you persuade a skeptic?
- What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
- How would you answer their objections?
The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but by an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.
We’ll transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word-of-mouth campaign. First, we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:
- A superior product
- A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
- A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
- A large number of enthusiastic consumers
- A way of reaching the right prospects
- One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
- A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
- A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
- A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee
Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word-of-mouth program. Some of these situations are:
- When there are credibility problems
- When there are breakthroughs
- When there are marginal improvements
- Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
- Where there is a high risk of trying the product
- With older or mature products that have a new story that people tend to ignore
- With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors, or telling lies about your product
- When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly
While most of the word-of-mouth tactics are favorable for your word-of-mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:
- Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
- Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
- Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
- Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
- Products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume) the medium will not be cost-effective.
This wraps up this post on word-of-mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word-of-mouth campaign. If you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.