Energizing the groundswell is a marketer’s dream.  It’s free advertising.  It connects your company with your most loyal customers.  It turns them into viral marketers “[…] spreading brand benefits to [their] contacts without any cost to the company.  Individually, no consumer can achieve the reach of mass media.  But word of mouth is a powerful amplifier of brand marketing, achieving results no media campaign can achieve” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).  I think that word of mouth marketing is extremely important because everyone will take their friend’s word on a product or service before they listen to a company’s marketing.  It convinces a potential customer through legitimate experiences, rather than what the marketing campaign will have you believe the product will do. Word of mouth succeeds because “it’s believable, self-reinforcing, and self-spreading” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Companies try to determine the value of customers who spread positive experiences about them.  These customers are called “promoters”.  Two prominent software programs that allow companies to get a better understanding of their customers’ worth are Kissmetrics and Google Analytics.  There’s also a calculation you can do.  To calculate NPS “Customers answer on a scale from 0 to 10.  Subtract the detractors (those who answered 0 to 6) from the promoters (those who answered 9 or 10), and you get a Net Promoter Score” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).  A successful recommendation can double that customer’s ROI.

There are three basic techniques for connecting with your brand enthusiasts, but I will focus on two of them, because they are the techniques that Franklin Templeton, a financial services company, utilizes:

  1. Create a community to energize your customers
  2. Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts (Li & Bernoff, groundswell, 2011)

I discussed in a previous blog how Franklin Templeton has a presence on social media which allows them to interact with their customers, and spread financial knowledge.  They also post blogs frequently on their website.  This exchange of knowledge energizes the groundswell, and in an industry such as financial services, referrals and word of mouth marketing go a long way.  People are worried about being scammed, and they are concerned about their retirement funds.  Word of mouth goes a long way in assuring them that they are in good hands.

I used my textbook “groundswell” to help explain the power of word of mouth marketing, but I also found a video which goes into further detail.  The main ideas conveyed in the video were first put forward by WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), and they state that the most effective word of mouth marketing follows five principles: credible, respectful, social, measurable, and repeatable.  I’m not going to go bother explaining them, because the video does a much better job of it than I ever could.  Seriously, check out the video.  It’s definitely worth three minutes of your time!



Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell. In C. Li, & J. Bernoff, groundswell (p. 130). Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell. In C. Li, & J. Bernoff, groundswell (p. 132). Boston: Harvard Business Review.





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