So as it turns out, WOM (word-of-mouth) is at least twice as effective at influencing purchasing decisions as most forms of marketing (from PR to advertising). (Source: Nielsen)

And the beauty of Social(ized) Media platforms like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Seesmic, is that – as connection and conversation engines, they enable, accelarate and amplify WOM.

So a) WOM is important, and b) WOM is also at the core of the crucial lateral action (peer to peer engagement) we discussed a few weeks ago. (Go here to get a recap. It’s worth the five minutes.) So even though it hasn’t been a buzzword in a couple of years, let’s bring back some much needed (and deserved) focus on it now.

Okay, here’s roughly how you create WOM out of thin air:

Step 1: Create or do something great. Not good. GREAT. (Seth Godin would call it remarkable. My kids would call it awesome. Some of my triathlon buddies would call it sick. Fred would call it rad… but he’s… well, Fred. Or Barney. Or something.)

It could be a widget. It could be a dish. It could be a work of art. It could be an act of rebellion or courage… or both. It could be a book or a song or a speech. It could be the way your customer service reps answer the phone, or how quickly your technicians can fix a problem for your customers. It could be new packaging for ketchup or a new all-natural zero-calorie sweetener. It could be a smart and edgy TV show. It could be a completely selfless act. It could be nothing more than a simple, subtle, five second memorable experience at a drive-through or at the checkout or when you walk into a public restroom. It could be a new flavor, or an old, forgotten one. It could be a social program. It could be that extra smile or one percent effort. It could be simply acknowledging customers and conversation participants on Twitter. It could be anything… as long as it is remarkable. Awesome. Sick. Rad.

As long as it is better than anything else that remotely comes close to its category – assuming there is one yet.

As long as anyone who gets to experience it is so amazed, pleasantly surprised, or otherwise affected by what it did for them that they’ll get excited about telling their friends all about it… and the cycle will repeat itself over and over and over again.

The more unique it is, the better. The more iconic, the better. The more revolutionary… um, okay. You get the idea.

People don’t get excited about boring and mundane and same-as-always.

Safe, good enough, okay and not bad don’t live in WOM’s zip code.

Step 2:
Oh… wait. That’s it. Never mind. There is no step 2.

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