Exploring word of mouth marketing

Exploring word of mouth marketing

I spent an interesting day today at GREEN Communications’ Word of Mouth conference at the Dental Institute in London.
The event was geared towards exploring how marketing and PR practictioners should and shouldn’t use word of mouth in the communications mix.

The day kicked off with a vigorous look at personal brandcasting from Andy Green. I’ve always believed in the value and active management of personal brands – Andy had some really thought-provoking points about personal brands, memes and networking.
Other presentations included a good case study of successful use of word of mouth (William Ostrom, 118118), a marketer’s view (Ivan Palmer, Wildfire Word of Mouth Marketing) and a glimpse into the world of publicity (Mark Borkowski, Borkowski PR).

Fergus Hampton (Millward Brown Precis) shared some interesting research results on word of mouth.
His statistics gave a reality check for the relatively low importance of online word of mouth compared to offline. He did however caveat this by noting the results were from 2005, and that online word of mouth was rapidly increasing in strength.
The importance of social media in reaching word of mouth influencers was demonstrated by the finding that this group tends to use online resources (including social media) to get the information they then spread offline.
Highlight of the afternoon for me was Graham Goodkind (Frank PR), who gave a really good insight into deploying word of mouth day-in day-out in a PR agency, including how ideas are conceived and developed, as well as how effectiveness is measured.
Graham also shared some real case studies, including the work Frank PR did for HP Sauce last year (remember snooker player Jimmy White changing his name to James Brown, HP sponsoring the brown ball at the snooker masters?).
Unfortunately I had to leave early to attend a meeting so I missed fellow blogger Simon Collister’s slot on blogging (which I’m sure would have been the highlight had I stayed!).
That said it was great to see several other bloggers at the conference, including Ian, Heather, Andy/Nicky, and of course Simon.

Thanks to the folks at GREEN Communications for putting it all together, and to Andy and Nicky Wake (Don’t Panic Event Management) for the invitation.
UPDATED: With pictures thanks to Andy at Don’t Panic, and links to follow-up posts from Andy, Ian, Heather and Mark Borkowski.
[Disclosure: I attended the event as a guest of Don’t Panic Event Management.]


I work as a fractional Chief Operating Officer (COO), consultant and advisor. I created the B3 framework® for company building and I also write a newsletter called Build for leaders who care about creating resilient and sustainable businesses.