I’ve wanted to see Andy Sernovitz speak for several years. This Milwaukee-boy-made-good is the author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. He’s a terrific dose of inspiration for any marketer facing the terrifying prospect of helping a brand “go viral.” Today he provided that inspiration — along with some excellent tactical ideas — to my city’s Business Marketing Association.
Sernovitz’s presentation clearly had a consumer marketing origin, but he did an excellent job of reminding the business marketing group that we all go through the same decision stages in a considered purchase. Whether the person is a retiree buying his first recreational sailboat or a young design engineer considering parts suppliers, we’re human first. We’re swayed strongly by the opinions of others.
We’re also moved by the creative imagination of smart marketing. Andy reminded us that we love what a brand does for us, or how it tickles our fancy.
Ah, love. Who knew there would be such a strong tie-in with Valentine’s Day?
Joking aside, here are two of his tips that are dead-on when it comes to marketing to business buyers:
- White papers are still effective viral marketing tools
- Email-a-colleague tools on your b-to-b web site are as well
Andy also mentioned that it was the viral aspect of YouTube that has it valued so high compared to other video sharing sites. He counted 13 ways that YouTube helps people email or otherwise share its content with others.
Online support of smart promotions can also help to get people talking. As a topical example, Andy mentioned this brilliant way that White Castle is getting people to talk about their restaurants on this day:
Now there’s one more restaurant that you can’t get into tonight without a reservation!