This blog is a response to chapter 7 of the groundswell textbook called “energizing the groundswell” for my MARK4474 course.
The word energizing always makes me think of the Energizer bunny.
This commercial is almost as old as I am. Scary. But, like the end of the commercial says, “it just keeps going and going”. This is pretty much what energizing is. Energizing is getting people excited and talking, creating word of mouth and starting a chain of people talking about the same thing. Word of mouth just keeps going and going… whether it be one person telling another, who tells another and then another, or multiple people that tell multiple others, or anyone who will listen to them.
Word of mouth is a form of advertising that shouldn’t be underestimated…
- It’s believable. Testimonials and stories from real people are more credible than media sources, or what the company says itself.
- It’s self-reinforcing. The more you hear the same thing from different people, the more you know it to be true.
- It’s self-spreading. If a product is worth using, people will share and spread the word (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130)
According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Marketing Association (WOMMA), word of mouth “is the most honest form or marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends and colleagues.” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 131)
By connecting with customers, you are energizing the groundswell. You are getting people to talk – mostly your loyal customers. Think of a brand, a brand that you really like. I mean REALLY like. Why do you support them? Is it because you like their products/services? Like mentioned above, people will share and spread the word about something they enjoy and/or are passionate about. Customers can become the best brand ambassadors.
Here are three ways to tap into your brand enthusiasts:
- Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews.
- Create a community to energize your customers.
- Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 134)
I really think that AMA can benefit from the first point – tapping into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews. Having the ability to rate and review different travel packages, from Disney vacations to Las Vegas deals, on the AMA website would help the decision making process of visitors. If other customers rate it as a great package/deal, then they are more likely to take the leap and book a vacation. The higher the ratings on anything – the more likely they are to buy it. On the AMARewards portal, members are given the opportunity to rate member rewards offers and comment on them. The only part that the portal is lacking is notifications. When someone replies to another person’s comment – they aren’t notified, and if the person doesn’t check back, they won’t know. This is also a negative as when AMA replies to negative comments, as the member can’t be reached. Contrary to belief, bad comments aren’t totally bad. They do make the website look more believable. If the AMARewards portal was full of positive comments, it would appear too good to be true, or unbelievable.
To wrap up this blog – energizing customers, and creating word of mouth, is an powerful and risky technique and it can be very rewarding. I think if AMA taps into the groundswell and energizes it, they will see more success!
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.