One common excuse (or brush off) heard thousands of times by me while trying to sell an ad is that word of mouth works the best. Agree, but I like to add often word of mouth needs some help getting started.
Here in "Contagious" is some help that can be applied by marketing, advertising and selling staff. Author Jonah Berger uses lots of research and stories to make his points about how word of mouth can work for just about any product, service or cause. Although social media now plays a very significant role, it is not yet as critical as actual physical contact (including voice). He identifies six elements that are important to the process but admits that it is not necessary to have all six at any one time.
Word of mouth has the advantage of being more credible and also more targeted. Unfortunately it is not as easy to measure as traditional media or the newer digital media.
The questions and comments below are intended to point the way to his six STEPPS. There are a lot of ideas and examples to expand the initial element.
Does the intended message have relevance to most people? People share things that make them look good. They want to be the first to spread some inside information. Social currency
Often you are able to set your message in such a way that thoughts already in someone's mind will trigger a link and reinforce the message. Mars chocolate bar sales increased during the Mars space probe. Triggers
Does you message have an emotional reaction? The key element is arousal. Two examples are anger and amusement. Emotion.
Is the message recipient to think they are the first or will they gain comfort from being part of a crowd? A busy restaurant attracts more customers than an empty one. Public
Can your message be put into action? Is it of use? Practical
Can you relate stories that relate to your brand? Stories
Your message doesn't have to hit all elements, but if you expect it to gain momentum it should have at least two. As a salesman I developed stories (usually from my customers" experiences) and always looked for a snappy phrase to get my prospect's attention and create a positive association. Reading this book will help generate lots of ideas for you for selling, advertising or marketing products, services or causes.
To find out more about what Jonah has to say click on http://jonahberger.com