Thursday, November 10, 2005

Employee Buzz and Word of Mouth Marketing

What makes Word of Mouth Marketing innovative is not that the concept is new. It is the fact that many old forms of marketing are seen as less and less effective and the form of “message communication” that is trusted the most is word of mouth, from someone you know and like. What makes Word of Mouth Marketing innovative is that it allows someone outside the company to control the message, and forces the company to craft the message by being remarkable with their products, services and customer support. What makes Buzzoodle innovative is that it turns every employee in an organization into a broadcast center by challenging them to create more word of mouth, just by talking and writing about their job more and becoming a little better networked, as a part of their normal, everyday life. However, not all employees are created equal. The following illustration shows the four quadrants of employees. Employees in Quadrant A do not feel positive or engaged at work. This group also tends to not have a large social circle, which means that even if they are complaining about the workplace, it will have limited effect. However, do not underestimate these people as many of them many not be extremely social in person but are social on the internet, where they can have an enormous impact. Especially if this group has tech skills, work hard to make them feel engaged and frequently ask them what they like about the job. Employees in Quadrant B generally like the job and have a positive opinion of it, but do not care to share that fact with a wide circle. This group should be encouraged to speak about the job more. If they are not comfortable with engaging more people in person, you can make them an online advocate of the company and train them in blogging, social networks and other online social tools where they can meet more people without feeling uncomfortable. They can also be mentored to go to more public events. Employees in Quadrant C are dangerous to your company. These highly social but negative people will spread negative stories, talk about company weaknesses and flaws in management. In the best of situations, you should try to move these employees to a more positive feeling for the company. Care must be taken that these people do not get left unchecked until they have severely damaged the company image, which as a social insider, is not difficult to do. Employees in Quadrant D should get paid double. These are the people that add energy and excitement to the company and they act as a latent but effective salesperson whenever they encounter someone. These are the people that, even years after they have left your business, will still be talking about it to new people. The key with employees in D is to recognize them, encourage them and challenge them to do even more. Give them the stories and access to information that will make it even easier for them. Turn up their volume.