WOM Worthy?

Over the past month I've been intensely researching and discussion WOM Marketing. What are the key ingredients to a great WOM Marketing program? I believe that you must first evaluate the foundation of what you are planning to market. You can try to build in a WOM program into just about any marketing campaign but should you? What is clear to me is that certain products and services, and in some cases specific brands or causes, lend themselves better than others for WOM. So when you are engaged in your strategic planning efforts for your product launch or campaign, you have to start with the question "Is this WOM worthy?"

What makes something WOM worthy?

1. I would argue that the first criteria that MUST be met is that you have a great product or service. If it sucks, you'll get WOM but not the kind you want.

2. Does your product (or service or cause) do something for people? What do I mean. Here are some examples. Could someone say "Your product is something I _______"
- enjoy
- appreciate
- need
- fixed or solved my problem
- enabled them to accomplish something that I could not otherwise
- want
- love
You get the idea.

3. Is your product something people will openly talk about with others? Chances are that if its something very personal, like medicine for hemorrhoids for example, you probably won't go out of your way to tell others unless they are very close to you. If you discover a great restaurant or new show, you are much more likely to tell those you interact with. Now that doesn't mean you can't create buzz about hemorrhoid cream but it doesn't naturally lend itself to WOM so some serious creativity needs to come into play. Here is Gillette's attempt at something like that with this viral video. Not something guys walk around and talk about but the humor and creativity behind this will have pass along value. As of today the video had over 1.2 million views.

I would argue that if you hit these three points: great product, people enjoy it or find it useful, and its something people would openly talk about, then you probably have something WOM worthy. Once you've determined that your product is WOM worth, then you can work a WOM strategy into your overall marketing planning and get creative with it. Integrate WOM with other more traditional marketing components such as advertising, sales promotion and PR and you have all the key ingredients for a very successful launch or promotion.


Value of brands - article from Business Week

This if right in line from my previous post. Note this particular excerpt.

What Does Your Brand Stand For?
Ask yourself, what does my brand stand for? Try to answer it in one sentence without using the name of the product your company sells. Legendary entrepreneur Richard Branson was once asked, "What does Virgin stand for?" He could have answered "a great music store" or "a great airline," but instead he answered with one word—"fun." By focusing on fun from his earliest days as an entrepreneur, Branson's vision allowed him the flexibility to move beyond a single product. Today the Virgin empire spans some 360 companies. Branson instinctively knew how to differentiate his brand. Branson was able to adapt, change, and take advantage of new opportunities because he sold an experience.

Notice that having an aspirational brand core purpose and values can open thinking up to many business opportunities outside of your current industry.

How to Sell More Than a Product (full article)
In a coffee showdown with McDonald's, Starbucks' tried—and—true strategy has a lesson for entrepreneurs: Don't sell products. Sell an "experience"
By Carmine Gallo