3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 talkers you may be overlooking

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Great word of mouth begins with a focus on the people who will be doing the talking. Most marketers get tripped up by starting immediately with their customers — but in doing so, they’re missing a whole bunch of other potential talkers. A few to look for:

1> Eager employees
2> Dreamers
3> Middle men

1> Eager employees

Employees can be among your most efficient talkers — yet they’re generally the last place marketers look to create word of mouth. Find ways to get these internal enthusiasts involved with product samples, beta testing, brand swag, and friends and family discounts. Not every employee wants to be an evangelist, but the ones who volunteer to do so are likely to be among your brand’s biggest fans.

2> Dreamers

Fans and hobbyists — though they may never actually buy your core product — can be among your best talkers. Think about it: Ferrari’s most active talkers aren’t actually the people who buy them, they’re all the teenagers with posters on the wall. Feed your dreamers with gear they can wear, geeky specs, and the occasional test drive.

3> Middle men

Some of the best word of mouth is the result of a focus not on the buyers, but on the people who talk to those buyers. They’re analysts, doctors, teachers, cab drivers, and waiters. In one of our all-time favorite examples, The Prostate Net approached barbers to help educate thousands of minority men on the risks of prostate cancer.


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  1. Michael Odza

    Very good suggestions, all. I would add:
    4. Ex-employees. Many of them still think fondly of you (possibly through the action of humans’ unique ability to forget pain and remember the good parts).
    5. Ex-customers. Yes, even people who have stopped using your product or service may have positive feelings about your brand, but stopped for unrelated reasons.
    6. Vendors and suppliers: the supply chain may actually like you, especially if you didn’t just beat them down on prices yesterday.

  2. Hamilton Wallace

    Including employees in your WOM strategy is a natural. It does set up a requirement that your company be worth evangelizing about. That is, employees know if you’re faking it.

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