Word of Mouth Marketing: Summary & Review

word of mouth marketing book review

Word of Mouth Marketing (2015) explains what word-of-mouth marketing is and provides readers with a few tips and ideas on how to leverage it to help grow their business.

Bullet Summary

  • Happy customers = free ads. Happy customers are your best marketing and advertising tool
  • Normal people are your everyday ads. People spreading your brand are normal, everyday people. So treat all your customers well
  • Target influencers. But besides treating every customer well, also try to target influencers in your niche
  • Be remarkable to get people talking and get even more free advertising

Full Summary

About The Author:
Andy Sernovitz is a marketing expert, and founder of GasPedal, a business that helps companies develop peer-to-peer communities.

The Two Rules of WoM

The two rules of word-of-mouth marketing are:

  1. Give people a reason to talk about your stuff
  2. Make it easier for that conversation to take place

In even simpler terms, WoM marketing is everything you can do to get people talking.

Andy Sernovitz says that WoM marketing as the acronym equivalent of B2B and B2C, is B2C2C.
Such as: the business originates the products and ideas.
And then it lets the people do the propagation.

Word of Mouth Marketing Manifesto

The 7 rules of word-of-mouth marketing are:

  1. Make people happy
  2. Be interesting or invisible
  3. Great service starts great conversations
  4. Marketing is what you do, not what you say
  5. People are already talking, you must join the conversation.
  6. Be original: not worth talking about equals not worth doing
  7. Negative WoM is an opportunity to learn

In brief, again, the very first best advertising tool is your customers.
Make people happy and you get free, high-quality advertising.

Who Are WoM People?

It’s everyone, really.

There is a popular idea that some “top influencing” people do all the word-of-mouth marketing.
This idea originates from pop-psychology author Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote about in The Tipping Point.

Gladwell’s concept is that of a few “super-infectors” who drive most of the spread of a virus.

Some people apply the same concept to WoM marketing, saying there are a few of ultra-hip and ultra-connected talkers.

My Note: This Is The “Two-Step Flow of Communication” Theory
It wasn’t Gladwell who came up with this concept, though. That’s actually an old theory in communication called “Two-Step Flow of communication“. It’s based on the idea of a smaller number of “thought leaders” drive most people’s opinions.

However, the author says that’s not true.

It’s ordinary people who fuel the real word-of-mouth marketing.

The Types of WoM Talkers

There are a few different types of people who will do word-of-mouth marketing for you:

  • Happy customers
  • Online talkers (leave a review or a comment online)
  • Logo lovers (people wearing your logo)
  • Eager employees
  • Listeners (people eager to hear from you)
  • Fans and hobbyists (the most die-hard talkers)
  • Professionals (reporters)

Why People Talk About You

People will fundamentally talk about you and/or your product for three reasons:

  1. They like you
  2. You make them look smart with your product
  3. They want to belong to a group
word of mouth marketing book review

Real-Life Applications

Be Remarkable

People don’t talk about ordinary stuff. They talk about their first times, the unusual, the out-of-ordinary, and whatever catches their attention.
So, be remarkable and memorable.


Bit Common Sense

The information in the book is well structured and some of it may feel a bit like common sense. There are quite a few good nuggets and it can still be a great reminder anyway.


Highly Relevant to Today’s World

Today getting reviews and opinions from word of mouth (or bytes) is probably more popular and commonplace than it’s ever been.


Word Of Mouth Marketing is a good overview of word-of-mouth marketing.

There’s nothing earth-shattering, but there are good ideas and concepts and it’s important for any businessman to know what word-of-mouth marketing is.

However, putting it to actual use is a completely different thing.
It’s a bit like The Tipping Point, Contagious, or Crossing the Chasm.
These books have great reviews, and for good reasons. They are great books, indeed.
But I have never heard of anyone who “tipped the point / went viral / crossed the chasm / achieved mass market penetration” thanks to the theoretical knowledge acquired with those books.

Basically: good theory and fundamental theory, but not “how to” books and you need your own creativity to turn the information into an effective plan or system.
For example, the advice “be remarkable” may make sense in theory and for some products, but… HOW are you going to be remarkable when everyone else is trying the same?
And even then, just being remarkable is not enough. Few remarkable products or ads “go viral”. So, in my opinion, your best bet is probably always focusing on making the best products you can and then may be think about how to get word-of-mouth marketing.

So, in brief, learn about it, but don’t expect that this book will 10x your sales via word-of-mouth -or even that you will 10x your word-of-mouth sales without adding your own creativity-.

Still, overall, it’s a good book and easy to read.

Read more summaries or get the book on Amazon

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