Mouthful (med)WOMMA Comes To Seattle

When you hear “word of mouth,” what comes to mind? Storytelling? Sharing experiences? Referrals and recommendations perhaps? At its core, the common denominator is people. People talking to people. Friends sharing with friends. Face to face. Voice to voice. And now, via digital messages and mobile technologies.

My first real awareness of the power of friend-to-friend communication stems from a popular 1980s television commercial with Heather Locklear pitching Faberge Organic Shampoo. Some might recall Heather saying, “It was so good that I told two friends about it. And they told two friends. And so on. And so on. And so on.” As Heather’s image and voice multiplied exponentially, the power of a personal recommendation became clear.

That power remains real today. Smart marketers and brand managers recognize the consumer is in charge and able to influence the rise and fall of products, brands, and companies that excite or disappoint. It’s critical that word of mouth, both online and offline, be well understood and integrated not just into marketing strategies and campaigns, but into the overall operations and leadership of your entire enterprise.

WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and advocating the discipline of credible word of mouth marketing. Founded in 2004, WOMMA comprises more than 350 regional, national, and global marketers – brands and agencies – who jointly shape how businesses ethically and effectively use word of mouth marketing to enable talkable brands.

Talkable Brands Exchange, Seattle

Talkable Brands

On Wednesday, September 21, WOMMA will host a one-day event at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

Attendees will hear from WOMMA members including Hershey, Warner Brothers, McDonalds, and American Express, along with esteemed members of WOMMA’s Board of Directors. You'll have access to empirical data that demonstrates what it takes to ignite consumer conversations, learn how to effectively leverage social media as a service and support channel, and be reminded it’s important to bring “sexy” back to offline engagement.

WOMMA walks the T.A.L.K.

My first WOMMA experience came in 2007 at its annual Summit in Las Vegas. I went as a curious “executive student” eager to observe and learn. I discovered an amazing organization with passionate members and guests. I could see that because WOMMA members walk the talk, they bring theTALK to life: Teaching, Advocating, Leading, and knowing what works today and what will be effective tomorrow.

A central element of WOMMA’s mission is to create trust between consumers and marketers. To help facilitate this, WOMMA established its Code of Ethics as foundational principles that prevent unfair, deceptive, or misleading marketing practices. The Code is a living document, open for review and comment.

WOMMA also helps educate its members and the public. In 2005, WOMMA created the Research and Measurement Council, which continually evaluates effective word of mouth marketing. Council deliverables include a Customer Contact Center Guidebook, Measurement and Metrics Guidebook, Influencer Handbook, and four volumes of the popular Measuring WOMM Textbook.

Members can access WOMMA information in several online and offline formats. The Talkable Brands Exchange in Seattle is the most recent example of how WOMMA brings its message to the market. Additional forums include the annual School of WOMM and WOMMA Summit, popular online certificate programs, webinars, networking events, and more.

I was fortunate to discover WOMMA just as PEMCO Insurance began its journey to be a more socially active and engaged enterprise. WOMMA has expanded our awareness and enabled our progress in countless ways. I invite you to discover WOMMA for yourself when the Talkable Brands Exchange comes to Seattle next month. Space is limited, so register soon.

Full disclosure

After discovering WOMMA and attending several events, I chose to get more personally and professionally involved with WOMMA’s leadership and strategic direction. Others encouraged me to run for WOMMA’s board of directors in 2008, and I was elected to a three-year term beginning in January 2009. Since then I’ve enjoyed committee work, leadership roles, and strategic planning. I currently serve as Board President.

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Authors Note: This story was written for use in Marketing NW and is being used with the publishers permission. My thanks to Larry Coffman.