Wha’? Word-of-mouth marketing has a secret? And it’s...dirty?
Maybe that’s harsh. Ok. Word-of-mouth marketing has an Uncle Ernie. Uncle Ernie’s not as big as a gorilla. But, he’s in the living room. And, everyone else is either ignoring him there or sitting at the table where Thanksgiving Dinner's being served.
Uncle Ernie here is the word-of-mouth that’s happening right now with your business. That’s right. Your business generates word-of-mouth marketing. Right now. In fact, your business has generated word-of-mouth advertising and marketing since before it even opened the doors for business.
Word-of-mouth was how you recruited your employees during your startup phase.
Word-of-mouth was how you convinced investors.
Word-of-mouth was how you sold your first product.
Three things about your Uncle Ernie, your organic inspired authentic Word-of-mouth, are too often forgotten:
1. You built your company from the ground up on a foundation of word-of-mouth. It’s how you gathered your core group of original stakeholders. They’re the ones who believed you. Believed your words. These core stakeholders are your first employees, your first investors, your first partners, your first customers
2. Only with word-of-mouth did you create your period of fastest growth.
3. You. Made. It. Happen. You brought Uncle Ernie, word-of-mouth for your organization to life. You gave it purpose, focus, meaning. That You includes your stakeholders: customers and employees, partners and vendors.
So, what happened? You forgot about what Uncle Ernie could do, had done for you. You forgot what you needed to do to keep that relationship strong with your original stakeholders.
You went off on your own. Understood. Part of growing up.
You got new friends. You wanted to run with the cool crowd. You turned your company into a poseur with pretty colors, a funny cartoon. You let your new friends take you off-reservation with a community site staffed with their interns pretending to be your customers.
Cool. We all make these mistakes.
Now that you have, and maybe costs are getting out of hand or revenues have stopped growing, go find Uncle Ernie. Give him a call or DM or email.
Call up your original stakeholders. Ask them how you wow them now. If you wow them now. Ask them how you wowed them, then. Ask them how they want to be wowed now.
Reacquaint yourself with those first customers. Ask them how are they doing? What do they need now? What are their big challenges? Do they still recommend you? Why? Why are they still loyal to you?
Do that with your employees. Have a heart-to-heart conversation. Revisit those glory days. Ask them how you/your brand got off track. Ask them to tell you how to get back on track, first with them, then with everyone else. They know.
Do the same for your partners and vendors.
Then ask your new friends, and their interns: What HAVE you done for me and my stakeholder and in particular, Uncle Ernie?
And save a piece of pie for your uncle. He’s earned it. So have you.