I don’t know about you but I have noticed, probably over the last couple of months, the trend of talking about ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ (wom).  The idea appears to have more credence as some large advertising agencies are advising their clients to switch their spend from traditional paper based advertising to this new method.   The idea is essentially to change the way readers (and prospective customers) interact with you.  Rather than respond to a paper based advert the idea is to interact with your clients and prospects in such a way that they talk about your products and services and become a viral marketing tool on your behalf.  For years we have been aware of statistics about the number of people a satisfied client will recommend you to (as well as the numbers of people who will hear a bad referral or cautionary tale). It would appear then, that this new initiative is, as most good ideas tend to be, a re-working of an old idea.  Nothing wrong with that so how can we utilise this methodology for our events?

My thoughts are that we need to create a live interaction at an event that will engage the prospect (visitor) in such a way as to leave them intrigued and enthused about that interaction. A live event is certainly one of the most perfect ways of engineering this. Rather than supply them with a leaflet or brochure, could we instead let them have a puzzle to solve (for example), successful completion of which would mean they receive some further perk or benefit?  If this puzzle additionally, required them to speak to their friends and business associates in order to seek the answers, then they would surely promote your company in the process? Doubtless they would feel compelled to explain where they saw you, how the interaction was, how exciting the challenge is and that they should also attend and interact with your company next time.  Likewise their ‘presentation’ of the award or prize could be staged in such a way to gain additional wom benefits which could prolong the process still further?  I attended an event at a well known racecourse and overheard two ladies recounting an experience that one of them had at an unrelated event.  She was waxing lyrical about how wonderful it was, how great the ambiance was and just before she recommended her friend to attend, she said, “whoops, there I go indulging in a bit of word-of-mouth marketing for them!  Still it is a great do – you really must attend!”  And there you have it – a satisfied customer who has enthusiastically recommended a future visitor with no payment or coercion.  This recommendation appears so much more powerful than any sales pitch the company would have given.  And it didn’t cost a penny in paid for advertising either.  Many of you will recall the saying that there is only one thing worse than being talked about – and that is NOT being talked about!