When you put yourself in the customers shoes and begin your dialog from there, an immediate connection develops that stems beyond basicand encourages loyalty. - Steve Maraboli
I had the pleasure of attending the Word of Mouth Crash Course yesterday in Austin, Texas, and enjoyed every single session I went to… Truly rare at a conference! While some of the conference logistics could be improved, the content was well curated to provide really sharp speakers with really interesting case studies and points of view.
The content primarily centered on word of mouth marketing and the social media tools that amplify it, creating customer advocates, and using behavioral analytics to provide better customer experiences.
One of the great sessions I attended was a fireside chat with Bob Pearson, a former colleague at Dell, and author of Pre-Commerce: How Companies and Customers are Transforming Business Together. Did you know that only 1% of a consumer’s time is actually spent purchasing something online? 99% is spent researching, exploring, talking, evaluating, and engaging in other pre-purchase activities. And today, 3 out of 4 people look to their peers before making any purchase decision.
Events are huge part of pre-commerce. By bringing together like-minded customers and potential customers, you give them the opportunity to research, explore, touch and feel your brand, products, and solutions, and provide an outlet for them to talk to their peers about their options.
It’s important that your brand advocates are at your events to provide the customer voice that your prospects are seeking. While you probably already provide comp passes to your potential customers, be sure to keep some comps for your great retention accounts, too. The more you can have customer brand ambassadors speaking at your events and networking with your potential customers, the more word of mouth can influence purchase decisions on that coveted peer-to-peer level.