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On Making Word of Mouth and PR Work Together

I2m_ultimatequestion_1 Last week I read a Business Week article on The Universal Question, Fred Reichheld’s new book about how companies should ask their customers whether or not they would recommend the company to a friend – and use that as a gauge for judging customer satisfaction.  On Friday, I heard about Fred’s keynote at the WOMMA event in Orlando, and yesterday I got an email to join a Buzz Campaign about the book.  In all, I’d say that’s a pretty successful week’s worth of marketing for a new book – and most (except for the Buzz campaign) done without any media spend at all. 

Now imagine more marketers outside of book publishers starting to use this model.  To build buzz about a new movie.  To get people to buy or test drive a new car.  To build awareness of a health issue and inspire action.  Forget about wasting dollars on television.  This is the disruptive power of word of mouth – and it fits perfectly with PR.  Of course, there is a lot of debate about this.  After all, WOM can fit into many divisions of a company … or be it’s own discipline.  Either way, it can lead to hiring and firing – as well as fierce turf wars.  But there is no denying it ties far more closely to PR than to Advertising.  And after years of being a budgetary afterthought for many clients focused mainly on their advertising spend … PR agencies that "get" word of mouth will ultimately evolve beyond the limited traditional role of media relations and crisis managers and become the strategic communications partners that most have always strived to be.

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A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

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