Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 4

September 28, 2010

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Jim Drever, Wyoming Entrepreneur business adviser

"How do we make word-of-mouth work for our business?" Marty, Casper

Most businesses list a word-of-mouth marketing strategy as a single line item in their business and or marketing plans. It is cost effective, but may be the most difficult strategy to successfully pursue.

When successful, it is perhaps the Holy Grail for marketers. What your organization needs to understand what makes a successful "word-of-mouth" campaign work and figure out if it is something that works for your line of business or products.

The first and most important quality of a word-of-mouth campaign is being remarkable. What about you, your product, marketing campaign, services or organization are interesting enough that people will remark to their personal contacts?

Seth Godin's first example of being remarkable in his book "The Purple Cow" is the purple cow. If you are driving through dairy farms, you probably won't exclaim at the end "Did you see the cow in the field back there?" However, if there was a purple cow in a field among the herd, you likely are to mention this to friends and colleagues.

If your product, service or business does something remarkable among target clients, you are lucky. Think about really great restaurants and menu items you have been told about, great vacation destinations or books or movies you yourself have recommended. The ‘remarkability" is inherent in the product.

If your product is rather dull and the company is not that remarkable, what can you do? Perhaps you need to consider how to make the product or service better in some way. Sometimes having a good marketing campaign is enough to make you remarkable among a target audience.

Recently, Old Spice figured out its customers were often the wives of their target market and developed a fun advertisement focusing on them that has led to nearly 20 million views on YouTube. This certainly has given Old Spice brand awareness and made it go over the tipping point of going viral, helping increase market share in a stable product category.

Finally, spreading the word. Getting the word out about what makes you remarkable can be easy since customers will do the work for you. In most cases, simply pointing out what is remarkable is enough to get things started, but it wouldn't hurt to include the message in your traditional, online and social media marketing.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, Wyo. 82071-3922.

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