Pass it on economy – are you listening?

 This post is by Bernie  Mitchell

This is almost too obvious to write, “word of mouth is just the best thing you can have.” All the words that go with it like buzz, vibe, pass it on are groovy – ok maybe not viral.

I was at a networking lunch and we were saying what we did and someone jumps in with – “I am Penny and the type of referral I am looking for today is…”

Now was this a misunderstanding? Does she operate in a world where she sits down with people she has never met and something other than lunch arrives at the table?

It occurred to me that the “People to People” economy is a very technical business to be in because you have to plug something in and I don’t just mean electrical power.

I mean REALLY technical as in emotional which is even more complicated. Oscar Wilde famously said that the “only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about.” Because in the “People to People” economy you need to get people talking about you and that does not happen overnight. Amber Naslund explains this in her blog about building your network before you need them here.


I know that people do business with people they know like and trust; previously this applied to B2B, these days both corporate and small companies are in the people to people business.


“If you get quiet for long enough, if you really listen, then and only then will they tell you the secret. Knowing the secret means you get to be here five years from now.”


Word of mouth is in just about everything we read, write and speak. In the super market or bar a buying decision will be triggered by people talking and an emotional connection.

That gap between stimulus and response happens when we feel something, in this way emotion is our social currency, and passion drives us to pass it on. Because people will naturally pass on passion word of mouth is the most amazing positive influence. Often sales and marketing is misunderstood as a “convincing business” no one likes to be sold or to have someone convince them to do something, whether that is buy a beer, choose a school for their child or buy a new laptop.


If you are in the “convincing business” you have a firework sales model if you commit to an advocacy model – both brands and people need buzz & WOM – you are in the business growth model.


Relationships need to go ahead of transactions; this is difficult because short sighted share holders want their money now! In the short term this makes money but it does not add value to your brand. Jim Collins uses the example of Johnson and Johnson who had a safety scare with a product in the early 1960’s, they cleared the shelves and by doing so established a deep and long lasting level of trust, a similar company had a similar situation yet did not make such a gesture however, I can’t tell you their name because they are not here anymore. In the long run you will win more customers and more importantly more customer loyalty; customers will pay 5-25% more for good customer service and with word of mouth being the best marketing, why wouldn’t you invest here – unless you are just after the transaction today rather than the business for your children tomorrow?

Word of Mouth never sleeps and is a constantly updated voice in both the real time world and the digital world, what is your (ROI) return on ignoring?

Written by admin

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.