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.


lisahickey said...

Hi Mike,
I've sat in marketing meetings where people have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to "get the word of mouth going" or "make this go viral". It really does get back to understanding the basic values of your product or service offering. I like the specificity of thinking about what a product *does for someone* that makes it inherently "talkable". And love the Gillette example! thanks!

Mike Behr said...

Thanks for your thoughts Lisa. It's funny, the more complex the marketing and communication world gets in terms of channels, the more I believe its simpler than everyone make is out to be. To market effectively, start with a great product and great service. From there just think about who your customers are and the best combination of channels to reach them adn be sure you integrate everything. Not all the complicated when you think of it that way.