Book review The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing

We’re about to take a look at The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing, 2nd edition, by George Silverman. 

Are you ready? Great! let’s do this thing!

Word of Mouth Marketing

Admittedly, I am only half way through this book so I hope it doesn’t end with a big fizz. However, I have already grabbed some great points from it I would like to share.

Well, actually I am half way through and made about 10 pages worth of notes, so if I leave it too long it may overwhelm me with the sheer amount to write up, but I digress…

Here is what I have found that I really, really like thus far. Bear in mind, this is a marketing book on how to maximise your word of mouth, so it is written from the point of view of not only attracting potential customers, but also inspiring them to help you do more of the same. This book will be approached over a few blog posts as it is incredibly useful. If you have the time, I suggest you buy it if you like what is here.

Without further ado…

“You don’t sell to someone, you merely create the conditions in which consumers buy”- think about this point for a moment. It may sound absolutely bleatingly obvious, but it is a point a lot of people fail to truly grasp.

What I took from this is: You cannot really (unless you don’t want someone to never touch your products again) sell something to people they don’t want. If you mislead through your advertising, they will reject your next attempts and damage your word of mouth. If you force them to participate with your product on your terms through not allowing customer freedom as some do with their enterprise products, you do so at your peril because we have truly entered the customer centric age.

What you are offering, allow the person to discover, interact with and buy on their own terms. That’s how you get them over the line.

How do you create these conditions?

You can supply product attributes for comparison, events to interact with the product, all kinds of material from the goldfish head span person to the manual reader and incentives for the person to become interested, influenced, executed and a fan… but the best step forward you can make is…


Ease the burden of the decision making process. Without that, you can have the best product in the world, but if it doesn’t seem easy to decide on, you’re boned.

Decision Easification… a point by point “How to…”

  • Make benefits and value propositions clear and simple
  • Make product info balanced, fair and honest
  • Make open comparisons with your competitors
  • Make the process easy AND fun
  • Make your trial, evaluation and support easy to understand so the customer knows you will take care of them, and also their friends
  • Make your guarantees 100% iron clad
  • Make your testimonials informative and easy to read and don’t hide them away
  • Allow the customers to say things for you (give them room to explain things on their own terms)
  • Make the path to your product crystal clear and very transparent
  • Cut the time it takes to make a decision between your product and a competitors in half

A fairly important point to keep in mind is your product doesn’t necessarily have to be “better” in terms of offering more features or more robust in terms of longevity to be popular. How easy your product is for the consumer to research, engage with and accept into to their daily life however does.

Think about the whole Mac vs. PC debate, or the lion share of the market Nokia had until smart phones became all the rage. A lot of consumer loyalists are ones who do not wish to take the time out to learn something, who feel as though the adoption of the product is cryptic or difficult.

The more easily accessible and straight forward your product appears the more likely it will be to enjoy success.

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