You’ve spent 12 months building the most wicked product on the planet. Now what?
Now, you need customers, revenue, and growth. Here’s the sequence most entrepreneurs follow:
Step 1: You launch a blog
Step 2: You launch your Facebook page
Step 3: You start promoting your writing to your fan community of 50.
Then you wait. You’ve built it; why aren’t they coming?
You get pissed off. You hop in your car, go to the gym, or take a walk outside to take your mind off things. Then you see that big Coca Cola billboard with shiny, happy stock-photo people and blinding, bright colors — you can’t help but swoon. You’re craving Coca Cola’s fizzy goodness and wishing that Santa would bring you a $10 million paid advertising budget.
HOLD IT — THE GLAMOUR OF PAID ADVERTISING IS A TOTAL ILLUSION
Get it together. Get back to your computer immediately and watch the first cat video that you can find. Little do you know it, but that’s your brilliant plan. It’s twice as powerful as any paid channel advertising strategy, and it’s free. Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) is your new growth engine.
According to the McKinsey Quarterly, “word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising in categories as diverse as skincare and mobile phones.”
And thanks to digital media, it’s not about neighbor A knocking on neighbor B’s door for advice anymore. Social media, content marketing, and online commenting platforms take WOM marketing to data-driven scale.
WOM IS ABOUT STREET SMARTS, NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
What does it take to get you talking about something? Most likely, it’s made you laugh out loud, saved you time, and solved your most pressing problems. It’s caught you by surprise and has struck an emotional chord.
As Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger puts it: “Any product can be remarkable. Any product can be emotional.”
It’s about the connection you build with your end-user psychologically, functionally, personally, and emotionally.
Take one of the most ordinary products on the market, for instance — a blender. Does the word ‘bada*s’ come to mind? Probably not. Now read the following story about a company called Blendtec.
“In my favorite video, for example, they stick an iPhone in the blender,” Berger says. “They actually drop an iPhone in. They close the top, they press the button, and you watch the iPhone get torn up by this really, really strong blender. It gets reduced to shreds. Little shards of glass and all the other things that make up an iPhone. Lots of smoke. At the end of the day, it’s basically powder. Now you’ve never seen a blender tear an iPhone. You’ve never imagined that a blender could do that to an iPhone. Yet you see it, and it’s pure remarkability.”
What happens next?
You share the video with everybody, and all of a sudden Blendtec is bada*s. You need it in your kitchen to replace the frou-frou blades in your cupboard.