Fighting a Recession With Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Last Updated Oct 24, 2008 7:39 PM EDT

Is there any cheaper marketing strategy than word-of-mouth? You get people talking, and they go out and sell your product or service for you. Perfect for recessionary times.

Of course, it's not nearly that simple or necessarily that effective, but it certainly can be a frugal way to stretch your marketing budget.

So as my contribution to your zero-budget marketing program, here are some tips gleaned from a recent Bulldog Reporter audio conference on word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing:

  • WOM Marketing = giving people a reason to talk about you and your stuff, and making it easier for the conversation to take place
  • What can you get people to talk about? Something they would be willing to tell a friend. So the way to develop WOM messages is to test them against a very simple standard: would anyone tell their friend about this?
The 5 Ts of WOM:
  • Talkers: people who talk about you (duh!)
  • Topics: what are they talking about
  • Tools: how are you making it easy for them to talk about you?
  • Taking part: participating
  • Tracking: measuring your WOM impact
How do you know it will work? It's hard to do that in advance. Trial-and-error is probably best. So the advice is to try a new little WOM strategy every week, and see what hits -- then do more of that and less of the things that don't work.


Word of Mouth Marketing Association
Word of Mouth Marketing -- the book
My thanks to Andy Sernovitz, Bob Pearson and Mike Manuel for a highly entertaining and informative audio conference.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.