Business Book Review of Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz

You’d have to be living under a rock somewhere not to know the power of word of mouth marketing.

Trouble is it’s such a hard thing to cultivate it often ends up in the marketing too hard basket.

So in an effort to check out if there is a magic formula, I picked up Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking.

Here is what I got from Word of Mouth Marketing: 

  • People trust opinions from people who haven’t let them down previously. It certainly worked on me- I chose the book due to a half page forward from Seth Godin.
  • Give people something to talk about. Most of the time, we’re thinking about getting the basics right and not about standing out. Give people something to grab onto- and it doesn’t have to be the product itself- and you will generate more word of mouth.  Give people an “oh wow” moment through creativity, kindness or relevance.
  • Be shareable. Give customers the way to sum up what you do that is easy for their friend to understand via a one liner. Don’t over think it and stop writing to impress your peers and competitors. Let your content on your website be shared with friends by social media, “tell a friend” buttons and provide the assets and means for people to share easily.
  • Don’t over expose your idea. Ever not wanted to see a TV show or movie because everyone else won’t shut up about it? That’s what happens when you over expose an idea. It can be the most brilliant in the world but people will reject it if it’s over hyped, over exposed and has no discovery to it. We avoid being labelled “sheeple” and like to have the inside scoop. So keep your products out of the sheeple domain.
  • Think about people who talk about stuff. Is it in your best interests to be nice to taxi drivers so they tell their passengers about you? How do you get mums to bring you up in conversations? Could a reviewer be a great ally to have? Introducing your product to and being supportive of customers who influence others is one of the best ways to get positive word of mouth happening. Notice “customers” and not “early adopters”? Focus on people who will use the product, not trendsetters.
  • Not all buyers talk, not all talkers buy. Think about it. You may not be a vegetarian, but it doesn’t stop you from knowing a great vegetarian restaurant to recommend when it comes up in conversation. So don’t just focus on the people who buy your product to champion your brand because there is no guarantee they will anyway.
  • Ask for help and feedback. Customers love being asked for their opinion, so reach out for their help, ask for their feedback, survey their opinion and listen. Done the right way, not only do you get some valuable research, you also make your customers feel valuable and a part of your product. That’s powerful!
  • Keep it simple, organic and portable.  Make it so easy for someone to say what you want them to in their own language in a super low barrier way and watch the word of mouth catch on.


You’ll definitely get a few ideas on how to tackle your own word of mouth issues from the book.

It’s much more authentic then some of the “this is how you do it” word of mouth books or presentations around because it treats customers as people as opposed to idiots who gargle sales copy with their morning coffee.

Some of it is a little cheesy but if you are willing to put that aside and add your own style to it, there are some real little pearls of wisdom to be found in the book.

You also get some nice templates and help that is easy to apply if you have the time.


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