Being Timeless

I just finished my faculty homework for the upcoming WOMMA WOMM-U in Miami. My subject: Year 3-5 of your WOMM Program. As a faculty member, I was required to submit my 5 Takeaways to be used as a handout for attendees. I hate writing scripts early and then having to follow them (one of my many faults), but I embraced this challenge and it forced me to evaluate what I’ve learned about the long-term word of mouth marketing movements we have been a part of at Brains on Fire.

We’re very lucky to have several long-running word of mouth marketing driven movements that I can reflect on. Teenagers talking about the choice to smoke or not to smoke. Crafters sharing their love of crafting and sharing ideas directly to product engineers. Talking to park-goers about their love for their parks. Listening to big-box sales associates share their fandom with their customers.

I’ll save the laundry list for WOMM-U – so come to Miami so we can share war stories and learn from each other! My session partner is Chris Aarons of Buzz Corps and I’m excited to learn that our workshop will be one in an un-conference format. That means way less talking TO you and more discussion – very cool.

So I’ll just share a little frosting.

The first thing is, if you think you’ve got it figured out, then you probably don’t. WOMM programs are driven by people. As a WOMM program matures, you have to continuously measure results and re-align your strategy based on the community’s objectives and the brand’s objectives.

Remember people are always in beta. Their lives change and you can use your relationship to be plugged-in to these changes in “your people’s” lives.

Get back to the basics that got us here – WOM 101
I can’t think of a better audience member for a workshop session on Year 3-5 of your WOMM program than a brand or marketer starting year one. It’s advice overload on social media application tools, use twitter for this, facebook that – no wonder so many people are just throwing their hands in the air and
saying wtf!?!

Take the steps to understand the marketing techniques that encourage and help people talk to each other about things they care about. I start right here with WOMMA’s 11 common types of WOMM.

In People we Trust
We’ve been fortunate that the brands and organizations that we’ve worked with believe in the long run. And if you want to see a year 3 or a year 5 for your program, you’ve got to trust people, your customers, your fans. If you involve your community from the start, then they will give their time and voice to make sure the community grows and prospers.

The community needs to stay personal as it grows. We learned that it will have a personal feeling if we continue to “invite” people to join and continue to respond to emails, inquiries, etc. in a personal way – no generic responses. We’ve built all of our WOMM programs with influential leadership – not influencer leadership but influential, due to their passion for what each community stands for. And leadership is not a lifetime commitment. As a WOMM program matures involve the community in defining new leadership. Keeping the community fresh and vibrant and leading the process.

I’ll leave you with one final thought: Build a community with people and it can be timeless. But build it just with tools, and it can quickly time-out.

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