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The big ideas behind a great word of mouth marketing program

I had the honor of keynoting‘s Annual Summit last week, and in my talk I covered the big ideas behind all great word of mouth marketing programs.

Thanks to’s Jennifer Overstreet for capturing a bunch of them:

  • Word of mouth topics are always portable, repeatable and emotional. For example, when Apple started selling computers in bright colors, the colors had nothing to do with how well the computer worked, but it made people happy, gave them something to talk about, and it was easy for Apple to replicate.
  • You get the first word about your brand. Keep in mind, though, that word of mouth always gets the last word—and bad news travels fast.
  • “The solution to pollution is dilution.” A bad word of mouth problem is the result of not enough good word of mouth. Work to get your fans talking.
  • Give your fans the tools they need to tell their friends. Add a forward to a friend button to your emails and post content to easy-to-share channels like social media.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to tell their friends. It’s such a simple thing that many retailers forget to do it. But be careful. Incentives for recommendations might result in a short-term win, but don’t help you build lasting relationships.
  • Say thank you. Another simple task is saying “thank you” to customers who post positive things, and say “I’m sorry” to those who post negative things. Most customers don’t expect you to do that, so they’ll be thrilled when you do.
  • New love is powerful. Capture customers’ enthusiasm the moment you first delight them, then give your loyal customers new reasons to keep talking about you.

More great takeaways from the event are available on’s blog.

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