Word of Mouth

76% Think You Are a Liar

76% Think You Are a Liar

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some great statistics and presentations available on their site. The title for this post comes from the finding that 76% of consumers think that businesses don't tell the truth in advertising. That fact and other nuggets can be found in this presentation.

The obvious follow on question becomes, who do consumers trust? The answer is also obvious: each other. From the same presentation 92% cite word of mouth as the best source for new product ideas, up from 67% in 1977. The fact is that as the marketplace clutter continues to build, word of mouth becomes more and more of a necessity to grow a business.

I posted a few weeks ago about the Hawthorne Effect and the role it can play in helping to develop advocates or promoters for your business. Dr. Paul Marsden of the London School of Economics, has written extensively about the Hawthorne effect and how Consumer Advisory Panels can be a tool to harness the power of the Hawthorne Effect to increase word of mouth.

We like the way Paul thinks and decided to do some testing of our own to see what business owners think of Consumer Advisory Panels, the Hawthorne Effect, and our system Promoterz, which can be used to setup and manage online consumer advisory panels. If you are a business owner and would be willing to take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us, we'd love to know what you think. Click here. You'll be asked to watch a brief video and answer five quick questions.

The Pumpkin That Sold Me a House

The Pumpkin That Sold Me a House

This morning I found this pumpkin on my doorstep--again. The Coen's are the realtors that helped us buy our home nearly three years ago. Every year at this time we get a pumpkin and an invitation to their Christmas party. They did the same for my brother. In fact, when I was preparing to move to Mesa and asked Joe if he knew any realtors, he said "Oh yeah, we just got our pumpkin from the Coen's. Here is their number."

Just a gimmick? For some it could be, but we've been to the Coen's party. We didn't feel like customers. We were friends. My point is the pumpkin is a nice way to get attention (and there are countless other ways to get attention) but if you don't back it up with a genuine relationship it will be nothing but a gimmick.

Looking for a house in the Phoenix area? Contact the Coen's.

(Looking for a remarkable real estate web solution?)

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

They Call it the Hawthorne Effect

They Call it the Hawthorne Effect

In the 1930's some studies were held at the Western Electric production facility outside Chicago in a place called Hawthorne. The intent of the study was simple enough: invite a handful of employees to participate in various working condition tests to determine which conditions were most conducive to increased production. Those conditions that "tested" best were then to be rolled out to the general production floor. One of things they tested was brighter lights. Production went up. Then they tested dimmer lights. Production went up. In fact, no matter what they tested, production went up!

Dr. Paul Marsden, from the London School of Economics, brought my attention to the study and the results which have come to be known as the "Hawthorne Effect." He explains it like this in the preview chapter of his book Connected Marketing:

By singling out a small group of employees to participate in an exclusive trial, participants felt valued, special and important. The special attention they received gratified their ego and created a positive emotional bond with what they were trialing. The practical upshot was that the research trials effectively transformed the research participants into advocates for whatever it was they were trialing.

What does the Hawthorne Effect have to do with growing your business? Creating advocates, or promoters, or evangelists is the first step to harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The researchers at Hawthorne created advocates by singling out a small, exclusive group, giving them special attention, and asking for their opinion. It is possible to do the same with your product or service.

Case in point: text book publishers. Whether they know it or not, text book publishers have been using the Hawthorne Effect to sell more text books for years. The smart publishers pro-actively select instructors with large adoptions and stellar reputations to review forthcoming text books. Sure, they get good feedback to improve the text, but they also realize that professors that review texts are much more likely to adopt them. I know this because I worked with a unique company called Content Connections that helps publishers do exactly that. Content Connections has developed online tools and processes that facilitate the review process and helps authors and publishers harness the power of the Hawthorne Effect.

Put the power of the Hawthorne Effect to work for your business today. Choose some customers, make them feel special, and ask for their feedback on new products or services. Not only will you get good feedback, you'll get advocates and all those they go on to tell.

Need some help? Contact us at Zeryn.

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more

What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

Realtors are notorious for their creative use of marketing terms. "Open floor plan" means there are holes in a few walls etc. Here are a few more creatively used terms. But this morning as I was out running I noticed this real estate sign. Maybe this guy just ran out of "I'm gorgeous inside" signs and it was the end of a long day so he sighed and went with the "A Nice Place" placard. Whatever it was, it was simple enough to get my attention.

Simple and honest are remarkable. You could argue that "A Nice Place" is still stretching the truth. Wonder how many calls this sign would bring...

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

We dipped our big toe into the brave new world of "podcasting" this week. For those that don't know exactly what podcasting is, Wikipedia defines it as:

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term gained wide popularity as a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting, but was seen before that as an acronym for "portable on demand".

So there you have it. A podcast is an audio file that you can listen to on your iPod (or other MP3 player) or your computer. Most podcasts are serial in nature. So once you sign up, you get a new episode every week or day or whatever the time period defined is.

Benefits of podcasting? From a marketing perspective, they are one more way to create a more personal connection with your audience and tell a story that you just can't do any other way. Think of it as getting the opportunity to sit down personally with each prospective customer and tell them personally why your product is so great. It is also a great way to establish the fact that you are an "expert" in your industry. From the listener's perspective, podcasts offer convenience. Podcasts can be downloaded at the office or at home and listened to while commuting, exercising, or doing any other activity.

How popular are podcasts? Depends on who you ask. According to this CNET article, some researchers are predicting that the U.S. podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010.

Not wanting 56 million potential customers to live their lives in ignorance of Promoterz, Joe, Dan and I gathered around one of our computers last week and recorded our story. Why the picture of the 3 Stooges with this post? Well, you see there were three of us...

Listen now.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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