Word of Mouth Marketing: A Review of a Book Worth Talking About
Andy Sernovitz has a blog that I follow, about word-of-mouth marketing. He shares all kinds of great ideas about how to get customers and prospects excited about your product and your business—so excited that they can’t help but spread the word about you.
A couple months ago he posted a request for proofreaders to review the second edition of his book, Word of Mouth Marketing(not an affiliate link). I needed some marketing ideas, and I figured it’d be a great way to get a free book. So I proofed it for him.
I’ve proofread a lot of books in my time, but rarely have I gotten excited about them. Only once before have I gone back and read a book after proofreading it, for my own benefit. Well, now it’s been twice. In fact, I had a really hard time while I was proofreading not marking the review copy with notes to myself and highlighting sections for my own benefit. But now I can read my own copy and I’m marking it up all over the place.
Word of Mouth Marketing is a very practical book on how to get people excited about your business and talking about you. It’s a quick read, but it’s not fluff. Andy quickly lays out the foundation of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing and provides lots of tools and practical ideas to help you build on that foundation. I found myself scribbling down all kinds of possibilities as I read, and the spreadsheets he provides (in the book and through a website link) are great templates for brainstorming and planning.
Who’s It For?
Word of Mouth Marketing is intended for anyone in business—anything form mompreneur businesses to e-commerce sites to big box stores. He tends to focus on companies that sell products rather than services, so I had to think a bit harder a few times to take some ideas and tweak them, but it wasn’t a major issue or anything.
Andy also seems to assume his readers are all established businesses who have steady customer bases, which could leave startup companies wishing for content that addresses their needs more specifically. For example, he writes about finding your “talkers”—people who love to spread the word. This task poses a unique challenge for startups that established companies don’t face (or not in the same way); startups may not have any talkers, yet, so they need to do rely on some guesswork.
What I Liked
As you could probably tell, I liked just about everything. Word of Mouth Marketing lays a fairly basic foundation, which serves as a skeleton plan that you can flesh out according to your company’s needs and characteristics. Andy provides TONS of examples, and he makes it very easy to start generating your own ideas right away. He even takes several pages to lay out ideas you can implement immediately, after a few weeks of planning, and after significant planning.
As I mentioned, it’s a practical book and it’s easy to start applying concepts immediately, even before you’ve gotten very far past page 1.
What I Didn’t Like
Not much, truthfully. I’d like to see Andy address service companies a bit more, and help startup companies think about how they would apply certain concepts, but neither of those issues are show stoppers.
If you want your customers and prospects to start talking about your business, this is a must-read book. It’s one of the few business books I wouldn’t loan to a friend (for fear I wouldn’t get it back)—but I’d be happy to buy it for them!