Once upon a time, the best marketing you could get was one customer chatting with a friend or a colleague over a cup of coffee. It’s called “word of mouth” marketing.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the origin of the term…

George Silverman, a mathematician and statistician, pioneered word-of-mouth marketing when he created what he called “teleconferenced peer influence groups” in order to engage physicians in dialogue about new pharmaceutical products. Silverman noticed an interesting phenomenon while conducting focus groups with physicians in the early 1970s. “One or two physicians who were having good experiences with a drug would sway an entire group of skeptics. They would even sway a dissatisfied group of ex-prescribers who had had negative experiences!”

Businesses and empires have been built on that kind marketing. The problem was that it took too long. So, mass media emerged and we leapt on the radio, TV, billboard, postcard mailing bandwagons. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and it all gets pretty pricey.

Enter new media! Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, chat groups, etc. Let’s take a look at what “word of mouth” marketing looks like on steroids.

Publicity Pro Peter Shankman was traveling. After a long day of nothing but airport offerings, he thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a Morton’s steak waiting for me at the end of this flight!” He sent out a tweet. Waiting for him in baggage claim? A smiling Morton’s employee, holding a to-go packaged steak dinner. Here’s the whole story…and Peter’s response.

Do the math on this. Peter has 109,000 twitter followers. He has over 50,000 Facebook friends. Over 300 people have commented on this blog and most have re-sent it to their friends and followers. With this blog, I am updating my friends and fans and Bare Bones Biz community members…about 10,000 altogether. This “word of mouth” testimonial has reached hundreds of thousands of people. Most of them within the Morton’s target market demographics.

The cost: Direct costs of the steak and veggies plus one hour of minimum wage labor to deliver it =<$50.

The benefits: Priceless.

I’ve always liked Morton’s. Peter’s story makes me love them. His blog makes me want to go to Morton’s, and recommend them…and spread the word. Like I am doing now. I love the love that they delivered. It’s old fashioned great service.

Could you get this kind of publicity. Maybe. It starts with doing things that make your customers go, “Wow.” You can help them discover that feeling. Let’s go all “old school” and leverage your marketing with rockin’ testimonials.

Do this today: Answer these questions…

“Who is your very favorite customer? If you could clone that person 10,000 times to fill out your customer list, who would that person be?”


Next, call that customer. Say something like this…

“Mrs. Fernwicky, I was visiting with a friend of mine who asked me, ‘Who is your very favorite customer?’ I answered…YOU. I just wanted to call and tell you that and why it is such a pleasure to work with you.”

That will open up the conversation. (Wouldn’t you appreciate a call like this? She will, too!) Next, ask if you could stop by and get a picture of her and your work. Set up a time to visit. Have some fun. Take a few pictures. Write down what she says about you. Bask in the love.

Face-to-face is best, however you can improvise. You can do this all over the phone, and ask Mrs. Fernwicky to send you a picture. (Or, you could ask her to be your Facebook friend and get a picture from her page!) Then, you can email her the completed Testimonial and ask her to click Reply with a YES in the body of the email if she is giving you permission to use the Testimonial in your Marketing materials. AND, you can have your Salespeople and Service Techs use this Customer Survey at the end of the call and get Testimonials, too.

For more examples, check out the our business consulting testimonials at Bare Bones Biz and Success Gallery at Appleseed Business

Be sure to send the finished Testimonial to Mrs. Fernwicky and encourage it