Is Word of Mouth Advertising Any Good?

I’m preaching that you need great marketing to go viral, but we’ve all heard stories—true stories—where word of mouth advertising is the best advertising.

I completely agree. If a customer is blown away by your product and your service, he or she will tell friends, and when they experience the same thing, they tell their friends, and so on and so on. And pretty soon there’s an avalanche!

Of course, this assumes that you have a great product and service the hell out of the customer, two of the three pillars of going viral. Let’s assume that.

The question is, how do they hear about you in the first place? Even the Harry Potter series started slowly and required a marketing campaign to cause the grass-roots interest that then exploded.

How do you get that great, incredible, absolutely unbelievable software into a few hands to start with?

Marketing. You’ve got to identify your target audience, present your product to them in a way they’ll be receptive to, interest them in trying and using your software, and blow them away. THEN that one user will tell others.

Depending on your market (or market niche) you’ll need to repeat that process with hundreds, perhaps thousands or even tens of thousands of people until that spontaneous combustion occurs and the product takes off.

Where Marketing comes into play—and I’m including PR as part of this (pardon my latitude, PR experts)—is getting your product message and then your great product in front of enough eyeballs so that word of mouth explodes and you can sit back and fill orders.

Until that happens, you have to Market your product to your target customers with a passion. You have to commit the funds to pay for your gorgeous website, create attractive and effective emails, attend trade shows, send out postcards, print product brochures, pay for banner ads, and continue these actions once the viral explosion starts.

To draw an analogy, marketing is the kindling to get the fire going. Once it’s roaring, you don’t need the kindling any more and how you market changes.

Geoffrey Moore’s books, Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado, cover the types of people and companies you market to. Read those books and apply them!

What they don’t tell you is how to market effectively to the different types of customers at each stage of the adoption curve. That’s what this blog addressed.


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