The Wizards of word of mouth marketing

This guest post is from Jeremy Epstein, VP of Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr.

The art of word of mouth generation lies in recognizing when a small effort that costs you little or nothing can have a big impact — and will give someone a reason to talk about you.

I took my son to his first NBA game last year: Washington Wizards vs. Sacramento Kings.

Figuring that, no matter what, my son would enjoy the experience, I opted for the cheapest tickets. Neither he nor I would care.

We weren’t in our seats for more than 5 minutes when we were approached by Ben Cobleigh who asked, “Is this the first time you are coming to a game with your son?”

I guess we fit the type — or he saw my check-in on Foursquare. 🙂

Then, he pulls out two $200 tickets for courtside seats that included buffet, snacks, and drinks.

We moved down and enjoyed the game immensely (of course, my 5 year old said he liked sitting higher up and using the binoculars I had brought, but he did indulge in ice cream and popcorn, so he wasn’t hurting).

A memory was created and the experience certainly added to the emotion of the night of being there with my son for the first time.image

What I like about what Ben did is that it says that the Wizards recognized that how you feel at the game is as important as the action on the court (and they won, too!).

But, here’s the word of mouth marketing lesson:

The Wizards already had the seats available and unsold.

A surprise moment gives me a positive feeling and gives me a reason to talk (I doubt Ben knew I would blog on it).

It also doesn’t establish an expectation of entitlement that this will happen every time I go to a game (but that would be nice, Ben!).

Nor does it make me more likely to become a season ticket holder.

But, does it make it more likely that my son and I will view a basketball game as something we should do together again instead of a one-off “nice to have done” experience? Absolutely.

Does it make it more likely that I will tell others about the experience of attending a Wizards game with my son? Yes.003

In essence, this WOM-focused effort has increased their competitive stance for my father-son bonding dollar.

And, it’s earned my attention — which means that I may view a Wizards evening as a viable entertainment moment for other activities, leisure or business.

All at next to no cost for them.

That’s how you do WOM.

About Jeremy Epstein

Jeremy Epstein is VP/Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr, the world’s leading enterprise Social Media Management System to help large organizations save time, mitigate risk, orchestrate activity, and use social data to grow their business. A committed WOM practitioner, Jeremy previously worked at Microsoft and ran an international community marketing-focused consulting firm.

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