Word of mouth in the B2B realm

by Creative Brand Communications on June 12, 2008

I realize Forward ’08 was a while ago, but there were some important points made at the conference that I didn’t discuss in my last post, Successful word of mouth marketing. Namely, word of mouth marketing as it applies to services and B2B.

After Andy Sernovitz’s speech – which was mostly about word of mouth as used by companies selling tangible products – an audience member asked the question that had been running through my mind. What about B2B and services? This is pretty pertinent to CBC, since most of our clients are banks and credit unions.

On the B2B end, two things that help to get people talking are white papers and research. The more easily these can be shared, the more people will talk. You may be asking, “but research sounds so boring, why would someone talk about that?”. The simple answer is that it makes them look smart in front of their colleagues. Knowing something other people don’t know and being the first to share it is a big ego booster.

White papers and research also get people talking because both have value for the reader as educational resources. Of course, these materials are related to what the business sells (such as the very popular 2008 Marketers’ Survey offered at Jack Morton).

For businesses that market to other businesses and for companies selling services, the biggest talkers are primarily going to be former customers. (Which is interesting considering Sernovitz stated that talkers are not buyers and that there’s no correlation between talking and buying behavior. What do you make of that?).

I think the main point is, no matter who your talkers are, you must participate if you want to have any influence on what’s being said out there. Healthy discussions are good. Find new fans of your company or service, offer them something that makes them feel smart and important, and keep up the relationship.

Add that to your bank marketing strategy.

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