‘Marketing Leadership’ Category


Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing Your Way

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Conclusion

This is the last week we will be focusing on word of mouth marketing specifically.  Over the next 6 weeks, we will focus on another important organizational leadership opportunity; however, I would like to take this last week to address some similar questions and comments that I have received throughout the last few weeks.  “How can I participate in word of mouth marketing?  I’m not sure I really know how to make referrals or recommendations. Marketing isn’t my area of expertise.”

What are the barriers to doing this?

Many individuals believe there is a particular way to participate in word of mouth marketing or that there is a set of rules that they just aren’t sure how to follow.  They believe that they must possess a certain level of expertise to be able to participate or that they can’t make a difference all on their own. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Word of mouth marketing is not prescriptive.  There isn’t one right way to participate.  Word of mouth marketing should be authentic and not forced.  The power of word of mouth is that it doesn’t feel like it’s something written and produced by an organization’s marketing department.  People want real recommendations that they can trust.  If a person organically promotes a product or service, it is much more effective.  It can be a lot of fun to bring new business to your organization and to impress your customers, friends, and family by helping them find a product or service that they need.  

How can you do it?

  1. Tell YOUR story.  All of us have a story.  Just share yours.  It’s that simple.  Share it however you feel comfortable sharing it, such as social media, face to face, with your parents, with your friends, write on online review, or comment on a blog post.  There are many different ways you can do it and they all help to generate awareness.  
  2.  Be honest and be helpful.  If you don’t know much about the product or service, you can always say, “I know my organization offers this, but I’m not familiar with it.  I’d be happy to provide you with more information or connect you with an expert from that area.”  You can generate more referrals by simply generating awareness.
  3. When you don’t know what to do, ask. If you have questions about word of mouth marketing and how you can participate, ask your marketing team or other leaders.  Find a web site that gives helpful tips and information on word of mouth marketing.

Do you have a story you would like to share?

 

Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing & Managing Social Media

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Many organizations lack the resources needed to give social media the time and planning that it needs.  It is difficult to manage the many available platforms and to give each ample focus and attention.  Sometimes, although we have good intentions, our posts on social media backfire and have to be managed even further. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Social media can take time and energy, but the impact and return on investment can be huge.  For the most part, social media is free.  You have a dedicated platform to share your organization’s brand, culture, information, personality and so much more.  You have a unique opportunity to learn from your customers and the ability to obtain valuable feedback and input.  Once you establish a base of fans, you can regularly share information and many will begin sharing it with their friends on your behalf.  The organization’s reach into the market grows expeditiously using social media as a word of mouth marketing tool. 

How can you do it?

  1. Choose the right platform.  Just like individuals need to choose the best social media channel for them, organizations need to choose the right platform on which to focus.  It can be one platform or a mix of several, but there should be a social media plan that outlines the organization’s strategy.
  2. Engage your followers. If you have fans and followers on social media, those individuals are already favorable toward your organization.  Engage them by having a two way conversation.  Invite feedback and input and launch contests and polls.
  3. Answer questions and address concerns.  Many individuals will ask questions and some may share concerns.  It is okay if concerns are shared publicly.  Just make sure these individuals know their concern is heard and will be addressed if possible.  Everyone else will see your response to your customers’ questions and concerns too.

What are your ideas for using social media as a word of mouth marketing tool?

Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing & Social Media

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Leaders are hesitant to advocate for their organization through social media for many of the same reasons they are hesitant to advocate face to face.  They fear any potentially uncomfortable situation and they don’t want to mix business with pleasure.  Others are hesitant because they are still learning how to advocate for their organization in their own personal style.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Social media is a natural conduit for word of mouth marketing.  Many of us have hundreds or even thousands of “friends” and the ability to influence them with the stroke of a key on one of our many devices.  Not only are you positively promoting your company to those you can influence, but you are creating awareness of your organization’s offerings and information to friends of your friends.  The ability to reach many others and to initiate engagement and conversation is made much simpler through social media and the results are far better than traditional marketing efforts.    

How can you do it?

  1. Choose the right platform.  There are many different options to participate in conversations online.  Choose the one that makes sense for you.  There is no need to create social media accounts that you won’t really use.
  2. Share your experience.  Simply begin talking.  Share your experience and recommendations. Ask questions.  Engage with others online. 
  3. Join the conversation.  People are talking about your organization online and we want them to keep talking. Join those individuals already talking and share more information about your organization.
  4. Be honest.  Always be honest about who you are and who you represent. You could hurt your reputation and your company’s reputation otherwise.   
  5. Teach others.  Once you become comfortable advocating for your organization online, teach your employees and customers how to do it.  Show them examples.  Once everyone is on board, the power of word of mouth will really begin to show.

How have you been an advocate for your organization  lately?

Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing & Customer Retention

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

It is easy to comment and converse when the customer is complimenting your organization, but many leaders can fall prey to defending their organization when a customer is less than satisfied. Leaders want to make all customers happy, so they may make promises that they can’t keep or say they will solve the problem that may not have a simple solution. Leaders may want to join in on conversations for which they have no part in joining. We talked about word of mouth marketing being most effective in reaching your circle of influence and with people who know and trust you.  Joining in on a stranger’s conversation may not have the impact that you want.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

In face-to-face word of mouth marketing, you may encounter many different perspectives, but if handled correctly, these organizational conversations can lead to higher customer retention and new customer acquisition.  If someone is sharing a negative experience with your organization to you in public, by showing empathy and asking if you can have someone at your organization follow up with them, reasonable folks will be left with the belief that your organization cares about its customers. Responding appropriately gives your organization the upper hand by showing the public that you are willing to listen to customers to help ensure the next customer doesn’t have a negative experience.  You may be able to retain the customer who had a negative experience and other potential customers who have been listening may choose your organization because of your response.  If you had jumped in on a conversation for which you weren’t invited, you may have appeared defensive no matter what.  If you had tried to argue or responded uncomfortably to the customer, you wouldn’t have this wonderful opportunity to retain customers to your organization and attract new ones. 

How can you do it?

  1. Make Connections.  Connect the customer with customer service representatives.  Connect the customer with an expert in the area for which they are interested. Connect the customer with information sources where they can learn more, such as the organization’s web site or Facebook page.
  2. Be positive.  You want the last thing that people hear to be positive and helpful.  Don’t end a conversation on a negative note if you can help it.
  3. Be empathetic. Be kind and understanding. Your customers’ perceptions are their reality.  The best way for you to help them further is to connect them with someone at your organization who can help.

How have you been an advocate for your organization  lately?

Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing – Brand Advocacy, not Brand Defense

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

As we began to explore last week, Word of Mouth marketing is brand advocacy, not brand defense.  This means that leaders should proactively talk about their organizations to people in their circle of influence.  Leaders are hesitant to have these conversations because it means that we have to initiate them rather than wait for someone else to bring it up.  It is much easier to avoid conversations that could potentially be difficult than to actually have them.  Leaders also don’t want to infringe on social time with work talk. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

By initiating the conversation, you can actually help manage the conversation, clarify any questions, and make recommendations.  By sharing information about your organization, you may open the door for further discussion and recommendations for other services.  It can be fun to show pride in what your organization is doing and offering to your community.  People are more likely to choose an organization whose employees are excited and engaged.  If you don’t bring up your organization, you may not get the chance to talk it up and you’ll never know if there was a missed opportunity.

How can you do it?

  1. Talk. Share an organizational accomplishment or personal work accomplishment.  Talk about a new service or new development at your work place.  It can be a lot of fun to take ownership and show pride in your organization.  It may open a door to comfortably recommend a service your organization offers.
  2. Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if the person has used your organization for something lately.  Ask about their experience.  Again, this can be a great opportunity to clarify any questions he didn’t ask while he was there and to recommend another product or service.  Remember that if there are issues or concerns, there should be customer service representatives at your organization to handle it for you. You play a role in resolving the issue by connecting him to the right person to address it.  If not for you, the issue may not ever be addressed.
  3. Thank. Always take the time to thank the person for choosing your organization. Thank him for sharing his experience with you or for asking for a recommendation.  Let him know to follow up with you if he chooses your organization again.  This opens the door for your next conversation.    

How have you been an advocate for your organization lately?

Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

The next few weeks will focus on Marketing Leadership and how organizational leaders can help build referrals to their organization.  This can be done in many ways through daily interactions with others and by working diligently with the organization’s marketing team. By turning leaders into effective word of mouth marketers, an organization can generate more referrals than by relying on traditional marketing efforts alone.  

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

There are many reasons that leaders are hesitant to participate in word of mouth marketing.  Leaders feel as if they are bragging.  They feel like they shouldn’t try to influence another person in the decision making process.  They fear getting into a potentially uncomfortable conversation and they fear saying the wrong thing.  The most significant reason that leaders fear word of mouth marketing is the fact that they have to stand behind their recommendation of the product or service, and we have learned in the past that it is impossible to make everybody happy. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Many people want to see what others think and hear about the experiences others have had before they choose to become a consumer of a particular organization’s services or products.  Participating in word of mouth marketing can help your organization generate more referrals than traditional marketing efforts.  People are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know and trust than from the organization’s paid advertisements.

How can you do it?

  1. Be true to yourself. Only recommend products and services that you would personally choose for yourself.  Please click here to review a word of mouth marketing code of ethics.
  2. Join the conversation. People are talking about your organization.  Join them in this conversation and share important facts and information with these potential customers. Many individuals are asking for recommendations and it’s easy to make a recommendation to others that you believe in as well.  It’s a win-win. 
  3. Become a Brand Advocate. There is nothing better than having a work force made up of individuals who will publicly support their organization.  It can lead to more customers and higher customer satisfaction due to the confidence of the employees delivering the products and services.

How do you generate referrals to your organization?