Service is the new marketing

Woman listening - med

Awareness of word of mouth marketing and the importance that consumer driven communication is playing in the business community continues to increase at an astonishing rate. Increasingly, conversations are taking place about identifying talkers, loyalists, and advocates. The momentum and movement has found its way out of the experimental idea centers of marketing departments and is showing up in corporate board rooms, vision statements, and strategic planning discussions. Listening to the customer is in style again. And this time, the consumer has the power and the tools to make a real difference.



At the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) where I serve as Board President, thought leaders have been coming together for years to examine the key attributes and practices that create and enable “talkable brands”. We have studied measurement and metrics, led the way in establishing ethical standards and disclosure guidelines, have developed a library of effective case studies and, most recently, have released the “Best Practices Guidebook for WOM in the Customer Contact Center”.

And why are marketers talking about word of mouth in the customer service areas of our business? Simply put, because service is the new marketing. Your marketing department may be very good, but they aren’t on the front lines on a daily basis. As a result, the bulk of their work focuses on brand awareness, perception, preference, and selection. In today’s market, that is only the beginning. It’s what happens at the point of purchase, or after the purchase has been made that matters most. It’s at those touch points that stories of success or failure are born. How we serve our customers and the extent to which we surprise and delight them will determine whether they renew their purchase with us, talk favorably about our products and services with friends and family, become loyal recommenders of our brand, and ultimately defend our brand position when we aren’t available to speak on our own behalf.

Approximately ninety per cent of all word of mouth continues to occur in offline face-to-face situations wherever people gather and share information. This is true despite the increasing popularity and presence of online tools such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and blogs. WOMMA continues to emphasize the importance of maintaining an online and offline engagement with customers, which further supports the importance of identifying opportunities for “talkable moments” to take place at each and every consumer touch point – including the customer service and contact centers.

I have been fortunate to be invited to speak on behalf of WOMMA and PEMCO Insurance, my employer, at several industry conferences and association events during the past year. Each time, the importance of word of mouth marketing and the use of social media has been the topic of greatest interest. The voice of the customer is being heard and felt – and sometimes they aren’t saying what brands would like to hear. Is your company prepared to engage effectively at every touch point? If not, I’d like you to experience the difference that WOMMA can make. Check out the free information on the WOMMA website, attend one of the online webinars, or register for an upcoming event. Give yourself a chance to sample WOMMA and hear what others are talking about. That’s how I first became involved four years ago and I’ve never regretted the decision to become an active WOMMA member.

The most recent material that I presented on the topic of “Creating Conversation Worthy Buzz” is shown below.

View more presentations from Rod Brooks