The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So Now It's Called WOM!

Don't we just love acronyms?? WOM, SEO, SEM, PPC, CPM, CPC, blah, blah, blah...

WOM has been around since the beginning of time, however, there has never been such a powerful catalyst for WOM like the Internet! I think everyone that’s been involved with online marketing has seen the powerful effect of WOM in one form or another, whether it’s a blogger sending thousands of visitors to your site or a viral component like forward to a friend that helps drive traffic (and hopefully sales.) Since word of mouth has become so hot, I thought I would elaborate on the two main forms of WOM (from my standpoint).

Organic WOM
This is, “Glenn buys a laptop from Dell and tells every client he has about how great the laptop is. He loves the widescreen display, its durability, and reliability”.

This is the purest form of WOM and it’s what every company hopes to achieve. Now add the web, which fosters communication like no other medium today… You can blog, IM, post to forums, communicate with people thousands of miles away in a nanosecond. It's a world where one blogger can influence thousands of people with two lines of text.

In my experience with helping clients build and execute WOM campaigns, the key question is, “how do we harness the power of web-based WOM?” Are we ready for the extra traffic, the questions that need answers, the pressure on our fulfillment system, etc? It’s scary for some customers, especially small businesses, that don’t have enormous budgets. I’ve had to “turn off” a few campaigns over the past year due to the excessive traffic and pressure on customer service and fulfillment.

In order to help clients launch organic WOM campaigns, I have created a structured process that enables me to research the business topology, understand my clients’ customers, and build campaigns that help generate quality traffic yielding long term customers. I will be posting more about organic WOM in upcoming weeks so please check back.

WOM as a Campaign-Driver
So we’ve all seen media-based WOM sites that try to entertain us as well as help spread the word about a product, brand, or company. There are some great examples out there…the Dell DJ Ditty and Orbit’s Friends of Bright to name a few. Coming from a multimedia background, I definitely see the value in utilizing this type of WOM to help the performance of a marketing campaign. Don’t get me wrong, organic WOM rules in my mind…however, to help generate sales for a specific campaign, I’m all for creating viral content that hopefully informs and educates people, but that also sells. Heck, I just wrote four webisodes for one of my clients that uses a fictional character to help sell video content! The webisodes are funny, entertaining, but also provide special offers to visitors, provide portable web-video, and provide the opportunity to visit the fictional character’s blog (and to even communicate with him.) These types of campaigns are shorter, more targeted, and simply tap into the viral nature of the web to get more people to the site. And, if you've done your job correctly, you should see a nice bump in sales.

I believe in both forms of WOM, depending on my clients’ goals and expectations. Organic is what we all aim to achieve, but WOM as a campaign driver can sure help a specific campaign succeed.

More about WOM in upcoming posts...So go ahead and be the poster child for WOM and go tell someone about this post! ;-)

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