04 May 2006

More WOM - selling the service

Same champagne reception - well, we've got to increase consumption somehow. Different conversation. This time with a service business which refurbishes offices on behalf of clients. He has been in the business for about 15 years but the client list was already well-established when he arrived because the organisation had gone through some form of phoenix restructuring.

The business doesn't actively promote itself, it follows its clients and it sells largely by word of mouth. This is the very best marketing strategy if you can pull it off. Costs of sale drop sharply, but the business may grow below its capability. Word of mouth is difficult to manage actively - you can't actually control when those great customers become great advocates in a target's ear.

Like any business development strategy, WOM needs to be combined with other techniques so that the business is in control of its destiny. I'm not decrying word of mouth - I honestly believe that it's the very best form of marketing. My point is that it isn't the only form of marketing and it would be delinquent to rely on it alone.

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