I just re-read Dave Balter’s Word of Mouth Manual. You might recall that I wrote about it here a few weeks ago. There’s a link to a free download on that last link, and/or a pointer to the physical book on Amazon, in case you want to pick up a copy. I’m still thinking about word of mouth, as Dave lays it out.
Between this book and Andy Sernowitz’s book, I’ve come to realize that I was thinking the whole word of mouth thing was planted people talking about products, street teams, etc. Dave’s book says that’s traditional marketing. Instead, managed word of mouth is just an effort to put products and services in the hands of those who would likely appreciate knowing about them, such that they might choose to evangelize under their own steam. (There’s more to it than that, but that’s the gist).
I think it makes much more sense that giving someone a product they might actually like, and might talk with others about, is a reasonable strategy for driving interest and adoption. If you give Corvida a sneak peak at a software application, and she likes it, she’s going to evangelize it. If you share Guy Kawasaki’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce recipe with someone like Grace Piper, she’ll probably tell folks about it, if she digs it.
I just cant see that it’s wrong. And further, with blogs and podcasts and the like, there’s the ability to spread such word of mouth even further. And the only major important element, just like I mentioned the other day, is transparency. If you’re given something to evaluate, call it out. Don’t make it a big fat issue, but explain that you’ve been given an evaluation copy or the like.
I’m thinking it makes sense, and makes even more sense on the web. What’s your take on this?
Photo credit, suneko