The Chief Means of Marketing, Part 2

Word of Mouth. That would be the chief means of marketing, at least according to book people. And now it seems this is also the favorite tack of others in the business of selling, as evidenced by Andy Sernovitz‘s book Word of Mouth Marketing.

Just in case you’re unclear how this work, I’m actually demonstrating it by writing these posts. Author and one time marketer Brandilyn Collins blogged about WOMM, the book, and gave two copies away. The things she said convinced me this was a book I wanted, so I diligently left comments each day she posted about the topic, and wonder of wonders, I won a freebie. Now here I am, passing on to you some of what I’m learning. That’s word of mouth.

The organic kind—that which arises from happy consumers, not one, like a blog tour that is initiated by an organizer. In my way of thinking, the organized kind of word of mouth will generate the organic kind of word of mouth if the product (the book) earns it.

I ended yesterday saying that I believe this type of marketing is eminently consistent with the Christian life. Quotes from Andy say it best:

This is nominally a book about a specific marketing technique. But it’s really a new [old?] philosophy of business (and how to live it).

It’s about honesty and admiration. It’s about making people happy.

It’s a simple philosophy, a new golden rule:

Earn the respect and recommendation of your customers [readers], and they will do the rest.

  • Treat people well; they will do your marketing for you, for free.
  • Be interesting, or be invisible.
  • A new golden rule. Just like the one God set up in His word, about loving our neighbors as ourselves. Lo and behold, business people have discovered the pragmatic side of this equation, that customers, when treated with respect, become loyal to the point of talking about businesses they’re happy with.

    Of course, there is that all important ingredient—giving readers a product they’ll be happy with. That, above all else, is necessary with books. Andy explains:

    Word of mouth marketing only works if you have good products and services [books]. It only works if peole like you and trust you … If your product or service [stinks], no PR campaign, clever TV ad, or announcement on your website will make consumers believe that it doesn’t. Not anymore. And the speed of word of mouth on the internet spreads the truth almost instantly.

    The sum and substance of this first point is this: be buzz worthy. For a book to accomplish this, it takes more than a great cover or a scintillating premise. Those are ingredients that could initiate buzz, but the story and writing have to be there if it’s really going to catch fire.

    And speaking of buzz worthy, we are now twelve days away from Donita K. Paul’s DragonLight blog tour. This is one you won’t want to miss.


    1. It is a great book. One of my favorite observations from it is this one: advertising is the cost of being boring.


    2. ” . . . but the story and writing have to be there if it’s really going to catch fire.”

      Leave out “writing”, and I’ll agree, Becky. Too many books have been noted for their “poor” writing but have created buzz and been bestsellers because of controversy as opposed to great writing (i.e. The DaVinci Code and The Shack, to name a couple).


    3. I agree, Mark. I’m not far along in it, but I’m really impressed with the principles he’s presenting. Yes, that “Be interesting” idea is central to successful blog tours, I think.



    4. Here’s my thinking on the writing, Nicole. Books that tell good stories may sell well, but books that tell good stories and are well written may become classics, finding an audience, influencing readers for years to come. Given the right circumstances—controversy and what have you—books like Da Vinci Code and Shadowmancer can become best sellers. They can be made into movies and earn their authors big piles of cash. But what if they’d been written well? Might they have a more lasting influence? (For these two books, from what I’ve heard, it’s fortunate they won’t be around as classics. 😀 Maybe that’s hearsay; I don’t know.)



    5. I haven’t read either one of the books I mentioned, but the controversy concerning them seems to be what propelled them into bestseller-dom. 🙂 Most fiction writers on the blogs, and certainly the professionals, want to write and acquire those books–bestsellers–but there a handful of writers in contrast to the majority who really desire to write a classic in whatever genre they favor, and there are a matching number of editors who want to discover them but are forced to settle for whatever the pub boards think will sell the most books.

      While I desire to write a “classic”, I cannot think of myself at that level, whatever it is. I work hard on the stories I write, but I have no idea how God intends to use them. Since He dispenses them to me, they’re His to do with as He will. End of story. 😉


    6. Nicole, I think that’s the way to approach our writing—that the books are God’s to do with as He will. But I guess I was also raised with the old fashioned idea that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well. I know some writers are perfectly fine knowing that their books will have a shelf life of three months. They are perfectly fine writing stories that follow a prescribed pattern. And that’s great for them, if that’s what they want to accomplish. There is certainly not anything wrong with those books.

      They often sell well. I guess I’m suggesting that sales don’t prove worth and certainly don’t prove quality.

      Then I have to postulate that What if… What if such and such a captivating story had been written well? I see nothing wrong in aiming for that. Will I ever write a classic? Not for me to know and certainly not something I can control. But why not aim for it? I learned long ago, if I aim for nothing, I will surely hit it. 😀 And if I aim for the bullseye, I just might find the target.



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