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Word of mouth marketing is still awesome

Geno Church from Brains on Fire wrote an awesome post asking a critical question: Has word of mouth marketing lost its wow? (link)

I don’t think so. We’ll stay special as long as people like Geno are out there fighting for the idea that word of mouth marketing is something special.

Ignore all the talk about WOM as a “media channel” or buying conversations. True WOM is not a media buy. Talking about buying people is offensive.  You can’t buy a recommendation — you earn it.

There is nothing else like word of mouth marketing.

1. It’s is the only kind of marketing based on earning love and respect.

2. WOM only works for great companies that make great stuff and provide great service.

3. WOM only works for good marketers. Traditional advertising continues as long as you pay for it, even if it sucks.  WOM only spreads if it’s genuinely fantastic.

4. WOM is honest and true.  Word of mouth holds you to the highest ethical standards. Liars and cheaters always get busted.

5.  The good guys win.  Word of mouth rewards those who deserve it.

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Word of Mouth Marketing Book wins an award

Word of Mouth Marketing Book “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking” by Andy Sernovitz (that’s me!) has won a Gold Medal in the Axiom Business Book Awards.

Thanks! Yay!

More detail here.

Book web site.

Buy a copy.

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Word of mouth marketing: A $1 billion business

We we started the Word of Mouth Marketing Association just 3 years ago, we told everyone that it was going to be a huge business. Now we have some proof.

According to a new report from PQ Media released at the WOMMA Summit:

  • Spending on word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing jumped 35.9% in 2006 to $981.0 million and is expected to top $1 billion in 2007.
  • Spending Will Reach $3.7 billion in 2011.
  • WOM is the fastest growing sector of the marketing services industry.

For the record: I told you so!

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Word of Mouth Mailbag: Pet Fat

A pound of fat is bigger than you think.  It’s gross.  And if you carried it around with you, you’d think twice before eating another cookie.  That’s the idea behind MyPetFat


Jay is a real-life diet guru who has come up with the perfect conversation-starter for his system.  Everyone is going to notice when you break out the fake fatblob and put it on the dinner table. Read his blog.


The Word of Mouth Mailbag features great word of mouth thingys that people have sent me or were gathered in my travels. Send me stuff (address)… I’ll shamelessly blog anything that demonstrates great marketing — or is cool, goofy, or fun. See the full list here.

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Word of Mouth Marketing Class at Northwestern

This week I started teaching "Word of Mouth Marketing and Communications" at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. I think it is the first graduate course on the topic.

There are 20 smart students in the class, most of whom have full-time marketing jobs.  Smart group.

You can read the syllabus, reading list, etc. here.

The big project is the class blog, where all the students are assigned to blog publicly and actively.  I’m optimistic – 20 of us x 3-4 posts each week could be a really fantastic blog.  They haven’t done much yet, and I know it’s hard to get started … so post encouraging comments!

Blog is here

Here are the students’ names.  This is part of lesson one: Everything is public in the blogosphere! (I will respect any requests to remove any name for privacy reasons.)  Let’s see if they are googling themselves.  Class – if you see this post, please comment.

  • April Djakoniya
  • Audrey Irawan
  • Belinda Alvarado
  • Catherine Schneider
  • Christopher Cushman
  • Daniel Buescher
  • Dee Hildy
  • Gina Merola
  • Gitanjali Saini
  • Jesse Greenberg
  • Jessica Powell
  • Kate Kortenkamp
  • Lisa Spengler
  • Matthew Rolnick
  • Samir Sheth
  • Samuel Karow
  • Stephanie Somers
  • Vanessa Shropshire
  • Yu Wang

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