About a month ago, I got an email that said I’d won a scholarship to a marketing conference in Chicago. Specifically, the “Word of Mouth Crash Course” hosted by GasPedal. This was a nice surprise, but not necessarily worth telling other people about.
Then I got a package this last week from GasPedal with a free autographed copy of Andy Sernovitz’s new book, “Word of Mouth Marketing.”
Brilliant. Sending me a surprise free book (that I coincidentally had on my Amazon wish list) a few weeks before I left for Chicago was a great move on their part. Why? Because it genuinely made me want to review it on this site, thus spreading the W.O.M. for his book.
Andy’s book actually turned out to be great, and should be required reading for every single company on the planet if they want to learn what all good marketers have already figured out: that online word-of-mouth is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective form of marketing you have at your disposal.
The most important point, I think, in his book is that the worst thing a company can do is to not join the online discussion. And if you think your company couldn’t possibly have anything to gain from employee blogs, message boards, Flickr accounts, Youtube videos, etc., think again.
Andy talks about Fiskars, the scissors manufacturer, and how they managed to set up an incredibly active gallery for fans of scrapbooking. Seriously. If a scissor company can do this stuff, anyone can.
I did have a few bones to pick with some of the things Andy wrote, but they were relatively small details. For instance, in the introduction chapter, he says “only about 20 percent of word of mouth happens online. When it does play a role, it usually sparks the 80 percent of word of mouth conversations that actually happen face to face.” I have no clue where he got this figure, and assume he just made it up because it feels right, in the style of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness.” But like I said, it was one of a few minor points and it doesn’t detract from the book, overall.
Buy this book if you want to know the right way to do online marketing. The advice is simple, practical, and devastatingly effective when employed correctly.