I knew that the tactics that Andy talks about in Word of Mouth Marketing would work before I even started reading the book. I blogged back in October about the book as soon as I received it, because I was surprised that Andy had included a bag of Dale and Thomas popcorn! What's even more curious is that both Brains on Fire and Open The Dialogue referenced my 'popcorn' post in their reviews of the book. So Andy definitely knows how to get people talking.
To be honest, most of the book is a good primer on word-of-mouth marketing, and a nice refresher course for most of us. If you are a student, then you definitely need this book as it will be infinitely more valuable than anything you can get from a stale and outdated textbook.
Still, as I was reading this book, I really didn't feel that any new ground was being broken. It was a great reminder of many basic marketing principles, but not much else. But all that changed in the last 2 chapters of the book for me, as Sernovitz goes into how companies can JOIN the conversation. After spending the majority of the book detailing ways that companies can get their customers talking, Sernovitz caps it by then shifting into how companies can react to what their communities are saying. He makes the wonderful point that WOM marketing is TWO-WAY, and that WOM is PARTICIPATORY marketing! Love it! Andy explains exactly how to track conversations on blogs about your company, and how to join those conversations, either by commenting on existing blogs, or starting your own. And he walks you through that process as well. And he addresses ways to deal with negative feedback, which is something many companies struggle mightily with.
Finally, Sernovitz makes a point to stress throughout the book that you cannot fake WOM, and that if you try to manipulate it, that it will come back to bite you in the ass every single time. And he's exactly right. Do everything you can to give your community something to talk about, and to make it as easy as possible to talk about you, but do NOT attempt to deceive the community, because they are ALWAYS smarter than you are. Always. Andy goes to great lengths to stress that you either do it right, or don't do it at all.
Overall, Word of Mouth Marketing is a nice refresher read for seasoned marketers, and for students and companies that are trying to get up to speed, especially with reacting to conversations about their company on the internet, it's a must-have. In fact, Andy could probably take the last 2 chapters that deal primarily with responding to bloggers, and starting your own blog, and expand those into a separate book. Amazon has it on sale for around $16, which is a bargain.
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Word of Mouth Marketing, Andy Sernovitz