The Idea Dude


Monday, May 28, 2007

What do you get when you cross Seth Godin with Tom Peters?

Andy Sernovitz.

I'm a big fan of both Tom Peters, who first gave us his search for customer excellence and then Wow and Seth Godin, who challenged us to be remarkable. Then, along came Andy Sernovitz. I had the pleasure of listening to Andy preach his word of mouth marketing gospel at Sobcon07. As someone has helped large companies like Dell come to terms with their online conversations and blogs, you just have to sit up and pay attention.

The beauty of Andy's pitch is that he doesn't try to introduce a new paradigm but really makes us wake up to the fact that word of mouth marketing is something we always did offline. Salesforce folk always knew that repeat customers were the cheapest cost of acquisition and the highest possibility of customer acqusition was always through referrals. Using the internet through consumer opinions on review sites and blogs is, in reality, customer referral gone online. We now call it word of mouth marketing.

The biggest difference is that word of mouth marketing is not a choice companies have anymore, it is something that is thrust upon them because both satisfied and dissatisfied customers can determine your reputation by shouting very loud and in unison. Your only defence is to engage in the conversation. Acknowledging your failures and highlighting your successes is no longer a preemptive activity, it has become reactive because the world at large will invariably have first strike. Andy doesn't tell you to circulate silly joke or videos to create a viral buzz, he tells you to provide great products, superb service and exceed your customers' expectations.

Anyone cares about how word of mouth can make or break your company should go read Andy's book Word of Mouth Marketing. How can you not read the book, when the author stands up as a marketeer and bold declares, "Advertising is the price for being boring..."

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't get paid to post this or get royalties from Andy's book, I just recognize purple cows who have a passon for excellence.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vernon --

Thank you for your kind words! I don't know if I'm up there with Seth or Tom ... but I do have a passion for helping companies get people talking.

You nailed a big idea that most people miss: We've always had word of mouth and it's always been our biggest source of business. Finally companies have the tools and knowledge to do something about it and earn more of it.

10:14 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Andy, sometimes we forget the basic principles apply. You helped me and hopefully many others remember that.
Keep up the terrfic passion.

11:31 AM  

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