Thursday, September 24, 2009


Give them something to talk about

Guest Matt on Marketing contributor Scott Neilson, CEO and founder of FundBunch, has a lot to say about word-of-mouth marketing. In the first of a two-part guest post, Scott briefly discusses internal, cultural and value-based requirements to make word-of-mouth successful for your organization.

Take it away, Scott...

Word of Mouth. It is the holy grail of marketing. It’s effective and inexpensive. Everyone dreams of achieving it, but few organizations are able to truly make it work. Most likely it’s because they are not ready for Word of Mouth.

Before you get started on this journey, it’s time for a look in the mirror and ask yourself a few questions. Answer them honestly because if you don’t answer Yes to these questions, you may need to address some internal challenges first.

Question #1 – Is there something unique or interesting about your company?
If you do not have anything interesting to say about your products or service, why would you expect others to talk about you? Find what is interesting about you. It could be a revolutionary product or technology, your extraordinary customer service, the culture of your company, a need in the community you are meeting, your amazing prices.

There has to be something. Even if it is a just a Joke of the Week at the bottom of your customer newsletter. If not, you need to figure out how you will differentiate yourself. Not only for Word of Mouth, but to survive in this competitive environment.

Question # 2 – Can you easily articulate your unique value?
I tell everyone that I love my Honda Odyssey. It is the most family friendly vehicle imaginable. Costco is my favorite place to shop. Not because of their prices, but because their return policy and customer service is second to none.

It’s easy for me to share why I love these products. I’m not going to tell people about something I can’t put my finger on or can’t explain.

Question # 3 – Do you treat your customers and employees with the highest level of respect?
For Word of Mouth to work, you have to focus on doing what is best for your customers (or donors in the non-profit world). Always. That is giving them the best products and the best service to go with them. If your customers don’t love you (or at least really, really like you), don’t expect them to talk about you. Unless you want the Word of Mouth we aren’t looking for.

The same level of respect and focus should be given to your employees. Odds are very good they will be one of the best sources for Word of Mouth. Value them and make them proud to be a part of the organization.

So you answered yes to the above? First of all congratulations – your business is doing a lot of things right. If not, work on getting to Yes.

In the next segment, I’ll look at how to accelerate Word of Mouth.

Scott Neilson is the CEO/Founder of FundBunch, which provides tools and services to allow individuals and organizations to be more effective in their online fundraising efforts.


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