Common sense is something we often neglect in our daily lives, particularly as entrepreneurs. Yet in any field of activity, common sense is the sine qua non needed for success. Common sense is what this book is all about and the authors have no hesitation in putting their aims straightforwardly to the reader.
"Most businesses are built on good ideas, services, and products," they say, "yet many fail because they lack strong marketing. A good marketing plan doesn't require a big budget; it doesn't require an MBA or a lot of experience either. It does demand some creative thinking and some common sense. We'll try to spark your creative juices in the pages that follow but you'll have to rely on your business and customer knowledge to apply the ideas to your own particular situation."
The help that the authors' offer lies precisely in the realm of improving the reputation of your company, large or small, through an increase of word-of-mouth advertising. And they waste no time in stressing how important such advertising is and how it can be achieved.
"How many times have you heard that the best kind of advertising comes from 'word-of-mouth'? It's true. Most of us have become nearly immune to the hundreds of commercials seeking to capture our attention every day: we fast forward the VCR, punch another button on the car radio, flip past the ad pages in a magazine or try to glance beyond the billboards on the road. But when a friend recommends a product or business, we not only pay attention, we are even more likely to act on the recommendation."
But here is where the authors intervene with their particular advice: "Many believe that favourable word of mouth comments come from plain luck. While we would certainly agree that good fortune plays a role in most business successes, this book offers 101 ways to help stack the odds in your favour."
The authors are fairly systematic in their organisation of this material. Indeed, they offer seven main categories of generating word-of-mouth advertising: give something away; do it differently; empower your customers; provide information; minimise negative comments; get it right; and pay attention to reactions around you.
Under the first category - "give something away" - the authors offer a general principle: "Those who receive gifts tend to display them as well as talk about those who provide them."...