Jonah Berger and contagious content at the Widen Summit

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You are probably familiar with traditional marketing and advertising methods, made popular by shows like Mad Men. The scene is a boardroom full of white men in suits, smoking cigarettes and drinking martinis while they develop splashy campaigns for print, TV, and radio.

Although it’s unlikely that smoking is still allowed inside the building at your workplace, old-fashioned marketing methods might still linger. Campaigns created in a vacuum, with thousands of dollars behind them to identify and reach target audiences, and slick, stylized corporate communications collections. Campaigns that are easy for potential customers to tune out.

Jonah Berger at the Widen User Summit 2015

This morning at the Widen Summit, marketing professor and author Jonah Berger introduced the audience to a new way of connecting to customers and increasing profits: word-of-mouth. Yes, the oldest form of communication is now the newest strategy in your marketing toolbox.

In his keynote, Berger stressed that regardless of your company, industry, or audience (individual customers or companies), your goal should be to create content that gets people talking and sharing your messages. 

Throw away your concepts of business to business (B2B) or business to customer (B2C), says Berger, because ultimately you are always connecting to people. He cited that 91% of leads come from current customers, so word of mouth is important even if you consider yourself purely B2B. Additionally, through word of mouth, your customers do your targeting work for you. They share your product or services with people they know need them or are looking for them.

After outlining why word of mouth is important, Berger shared tips to get customers sharing your stories. First, make people feel special and find your inner remarkability. His example of inner remarkability was a brilliant series of videos from blender manufacturer Blendtec. 

Blendtec took a boring, commonplace kitchen appliance and turned it into an internet phenomenon with their “Will it blend?” series, which pits their blender against a variety of food types… and other.

For example, here’s how an iPhone blends:

Hilarious, right? And more important, it’s remarkable enough that you’ll probably talk about it to people, and hopefully next time you are shopping for a blender, Blendtec will be top of mind. Berger reported that sales have seen a 700% increase with new video releases. 

Along with finding remarkability, building associations between your product and environmental triggers will help keep your company at their top of people’s minds and as a result, the tip of their tounge. All of Berger’s recommendations pointed back to one thing – connect with your customers as people and give them remarkable content that builds associations.

The Widen Summit has just started, so check back to the blog for ongoing session coverage.

Topics: Events, Featured

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