word of mouth marketing by a sernovitz

Did you know that only 20% of word of mouth marketing is online?  The rest happens in face-to-face encounters.  Blogging and the Internet are indisputable components of the sudden spread of word of mouth.  But we’ve been over enthusiastic about the effect of online marketing on WOM.   Andy Sernovitz explores every aspect of word of mouth marketing in Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. With almost a decade of educational and career exposure to advertising and marketing, I honestly had doubts that I would learn something new from reading it.  Let me just say that nothing came as a surprise but Sernovitz definitely simplified and clarified some myths about WOM marketing.

Incorporated throughout the book are one-sentence tips such as, “Success comes not from what you advertise but from what you deliver”.  It’s a quick and easy read so everything is pretty much straightforward. Here’s an excerpt from the book (It’s a well-known failure case but I don’t want to give away too much):

“Krispy Kreme was on word of mouth.  Then they killed the conversation with over-exposure.  Remember when those were the most special doughnuts on planet Earth?  Krispy Kreme had an amazing word of mouth topic- hot, gooey doughnuts.  There was also a big neon sign that lit up “HOT NOW” when fresh ones were coming off the line. …Everyone, and I mean everyone, was talking about those doughnuts.  The word of mouth god smiled upon them and their sugary goodness.  Then the company tried to make KK as common as Dunkin’ Donuts.  What built the chain’s great word of mouth- the fact that the doughnuts were hard to get, fresh, and in limited supply – disappeared when KK put its pastries, cold and stiff, on every store shelf.  This sudden and massive overexposure killed what was special.  …Nobody tells their friends about food you can buy in a gas station.”

dee’s rec: 3.5/5