Archive for August, 2010

Secrets of WOM Marketing 2nd Edition

I’m in the final stretch of the 2nd Edition of Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. I’ll be publishing drafts of sections and chapters here. The final is due on July 31. Those of you who would like a preview can find it as it appears here  — just subscribe to this blog via newsletter or newsreader.

This is very difficult for me to do. I’ve been taught all my life to polish, then publish. Part of me is screaming that I have to polish for the next two months, get it as good as I can, then submit it, let the editors improve it, approve the edits, then wait until the Fall when the final masterpiece comes out, neatly bound and beautifully designed. That’s what I did the first time. My publisher, AMACOM, wouldn’t let me publish on a web site any significant parts of the book before, during or after publication. It was understandable then, before the Word-of-Mouth Revolution, before the soft coup that put the customer in charge. Really in charge, in ways outlined in the book. Who knew, then, that giving away free PDF files of a book would increase sales? OK, Seth Godin did, but no one else believed that it could happen again. And again. And again

So, when AMACOM wanted a 2nd Edition, I asked my agent, Wendy Keller to set up a meeting with Hank Kennedy, President of AMACOM, and my editor, Ellen Kadin. I told Wendy that I wasn’t interested in revising the book unless I could market it using Word-of-Mouth Marketing, not just the traditional marketing I was understandably forced into with first book, having no leverage as a first-time author. I’d rather change it completely and self-publish. Wendy was highly skeptical about our chances of getting a traditional publisher to give permission to do it the way I proposed. I had my doubts, but had nothing to lose, since in this case I was the customer and the customer is in charge. I now had alternatives. Anyway, I prepared my case and we assembled in Hank’s office.

I wish I had a recording of that most extraordinary meeting. To the best of my recollection, here’s what happened:

I got about 30 seconds into my pitch when Hank interrupted. He said, “OK, when can we have it?”

Taken aback, I blurted out, “Is that a ‘Yes’?” He nodded. Even more dumbfounded, I said, “You mean you’re not even going to give me a fight? You’re going to deprive me of the pleasure of at least an intense discussion?”

I don’t remember his exact words, but he pointed out that he wasn’t exactly living in a cave, unaware of what is going on in publishing, media and the rest of the world. He pointed out the obvious, that he was president of a major publisher of business books, books that he actually reads and is proud of. He knew that the world had changed. That it was obvious him that what I was proposing was the ONLY way to bring this book out and that it would be hypocritical to do it any other way. I was so amazed that I don’t remember anything else that happened.

I didn’t put as much up on the web site as I had hoped. It was easier to write privately than to expose first drafts to criticism. While I kept telling clients to “put it out there,” I was still reluctant to do it myself. I came to realize how my clients feel when they don’t even want to get together informal groups of customers to serve as an advisory group. It’s really scary to invite criticism. Our creations are precious little children that we want to protect from the harsh realities of the outside world. But they are also works in progress that are shaped and improved by the outside world much more often than they are trampled. I think I’m over it. I think that somewhere between the people who tweet every passing thought that occurs to them in the shower and waiting until things are “perfect” lies a vast middle ground that we can all be happy with, or at least tolerate, and maybe even come to love. I’m still uncomfortable. Old habits die hard.

There is a lot in life that is simple but not easy.

Welcome to the New Marketing.

The next post will have the actual table of contents.

Secrets of WOM Draft Table of Contents

Draft Table of Contents

Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Comments, questions, suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

What’s missing, for you?

What’s unclear?

What made you say, “I can’t wait.”?


The Calf-Path Poem


Why this book is different

This is the first and only systematic word-of-mouth marketing system

It gives the guiding principles, not a 1000 page catalogue of all the new media

What’s new in the 2nd Edition

In between the 1st and 2nd Editions, we had the revolution I predicted, but way faster

The Copernican Revolution in Marketing

Why your product can no longer be the center of the Universe

You no longer have a choice about WOMM.

While marketers were reading the newspaper and watching TV, The Customer Has Hijacked Marketing.

You couldn’t have seen it coming. Not to the degree and extent it has.

You can’t control it.

You have to join it.

Why the “old media,” intrusive, exposure models are failing

Why 77% of TiVo owners skip ads.

Newspapers losing readership.

Traditional Media falling apart

Business as UNusual. Why the New Media Explosion won’t let you do business as usual.

How new media is fundamentally different.

Requires relinquishing control

The new attitudes of the Net Generation

You can no longer control information.

The New, New Marketing

The profound differences in the marketplace, even in the last five years

New attitudes, new communication methods, new ways of relating and continuing rejection of the old marketing methods

Net Promoter Score

WOM terminology — a whole new way of talking and thinking.

Web 2.0

You need to change your — and your company’s — way of looking at things

WOM is not a set of tricks and techniques to be added to traditional marketing

It’s a whole new mindset because marketing is a different game, with different rules, in a different arena, and completely different players and fans.

If you don’t know anything about marketing, you probably have an advantage

It’s no longer about controlling information and directly persuading

It is about acknowledging that the customer has control, and showing the easier path.

You can guide, but you can’t manipulate anymore

The Systematic Approach to WOM

In the world of overload, the simplifier is king

Your customers do not need information.

Give them what they really need

They have too much, and they get more, courtesy of the search engines, e-mail, blogs, etc.

They are overloaded, just like you.

You don’t need lists of word-of-mouth techniques.

You need what they need: ease and simplicity

They need clarification, simplification, “ezification,” “funification”

You do it by listing all the decisions, then finding and eliminating the bottlenecks

Word of mouth is your primary tool because…

I’m going to show you how to cut through the hundreds of word-of-mouth techniques to arrive at a simple approach

Dominating Your Market by Ezifying the Customer Decision Cycle

Decision Ezification

Why Decision Speed Determines Product Success

Why Speed Equals Multiplied Sales

The Secret to Shortening the Customer’s Decision Cycle

Make every decision in the decision process easy, simple, fun and fast.

How to use Word of Mouth to Ezify the Decision Process

You have to understand it to sort out the 100s of tools

Everyone now agrees that word of mouth is the most powerful force in the marketplace

But almost no one understands just how powerful it really is

Why word of mouth is the ultimate method for making decisions easy, simple, fun and fast

The Decision Process

How Word of Mouth Works in Different Parts of the Adoption Cycle

The Decision Matrix™

Why WOM is 1000x more powerful than all of traditional marketing combined, and travels much faster

What it really is

The Hidden Advantage: Experience Delivery

Other Reasons Why Word of Mouth Is a Powerful Persuader

1000-5000X more powerful than conventional marketing. Really. And, I’ll prove it.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic WOM

What Malcom Gladwell and every other author missed.

The Nine Levels of Word of Mouth

The Minus Levels

The Plus Levels

Word of Mouth in the Real World

The Five Ms:






The Content:

Design your story — What is WOMworthy, remarkable, extraordinary about your product, brand. In a story. Why?

It’s more important to be different than better. Lessons from Patch Adams

Why will people talk about it?

Why is it unusual?

What’s unusual about its history, how you do business, your philosophy, principles, your founder’s vision?

What’s the story about how you treat people?

Why should people trust you?

Design your incentives:

Why will people tell the above story?

What’s contagious about it?

Why will it make people look good in telling it?

How will their friends benefit from the story?

Manage your influencers

Identify your influencers and invite their involvement: The experts, product advocates, evangelists, etc.

Build/identify your community.

Give them an amazing “insiders” experience, input, knowledge.

Develop WOM channels (materials and events) that spread the word from the above.

Monitor, track, evaluate, tune, readjust.

Delivering the Message

Sources of Word of Mouth

The Power of Experts

Delivery of Word of Mouth


Why Traditional Media Lose Effectiveness

How to Accelerate Experience Gathering

Above All, You Need a “Story”

The Science of Memes

Electronic WOM

Web 2.0

Interactive Web sites where customers supply the material (Facebook, MySpace, Craigslist, eBay, YouTube, Flickr, TripAdvisor, and so on, not to mention blogs, podcasts and amateur video).

The New Media

Blogging, Podcasts, Social networking, web aggregators (Digg, etc.), Social bookmarking,, Diigo, Rating services, etc., etc., etc…

WOM by texting, picture calls, VOIP, Webinars, screencasts, YouTube and other newer methodologies

CGM (consumer generated media) e.g., blogs, chat groups, list groups. Consumer generated advertising. IPod customers commercial. George Master.

[Much more to be added here, especially what’s in it for the reader, how to approach this overwhelming area, etc.]

Harnessing Word of Mouth

The Six-Step Process

The Process in Detail

Ways to Harness Word of Mouth

Internal Word-of-Mouth

Viral Marketing

How to Spread Ideas not Like the Plague but like an atom bomb

The mythology and Siren Songs of Viral Marketing

Why viral isn’t such a good idea most of the time

Viral Marketing on the Internet

Word-of-Mouth on the Internet

Non-Internet Viral Marketing

Constructing a Word-of-Mouth

The “Ultimate” Word-of-Mouth Program

How I First Harnessed Word-of-Mouth

How to construct a WOMworthy message

Word of Mouth, the “Tried and True” Way

(Almost) Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned in My Father’s Drugstore, or Irving Silverman’s Rules of Marketing

Specific Steps in Creating a Word-of-Mouth Campaign

Campaign Methods That Work Best

Which Word-of-Mouth Methods Work Best for What?

Word-of-Mouth Checklist

The Word-of-Mouth Toolkit

Negative Word of Mouth

How to monitor it

How to turn it to your advantage

WOMM in special circumstances

WOMM for large companies

WOMM for smaller companies

WOMM for small business

WOMM for professional practices — physicians, accountants, lawyers, consultants.

WOMM for tradespeople — plumbers, other repair persons, etc..

WOMM in Business to Business marketing

For High-Ticket Items

For Services, other intangibles such as ideas

Tips, Techniques and Suggestions

The right way to get and use testimonials

Using Experts

Using Seminars, Workshops, and Speeches

“Canned” Word of Mouth

Referral Selling

Using WOMM in the Traditional Media, when appropriate


How to light the fire, fan the flames and start the Stampede

WOM measurement

Your boss is going to be very upset about this

The difference between research and measurement

Why you can’t measure WOM with traditional control group research – the Silverman Uncertainty Principle. Don’t get caught by the hype.

Researching Word of Mouth

What Do People Talk About?

How to Research Word of Mouth

Other Research Designs

How to Analyze Word-of-Mouth Sessions

Word of mouth fraud and other shady practices

“When people realize that WOM is 1000x as powerful as all of conventional marketing combined, every sleazeball in the world will come out of the woodwork and ruin this medium.” Who said it, why, and what happened.

Warning to scammers, spammers, etc.

How to fight the fraud

Comment spamming, phony reviews, made-up testimonials, etc.


Marketing to algorithms ● Electronic and automatic WOM — no mouths or ears involved ● How to Conduct Employee Research ● Tom Peters and others on Word of Mouth

Case Studies

Recommended Reading