In the next 3 minutes, I’m going to give you a deep dive into the different ways ideas spread and how you can use this to identify and harness word of mouth in your marketing to get your messages moving between people for free.
For ideas to spread, there are two broad ideas:
1. Simple diffusion
If a passing stranger tells you the weather is going to turn, you typically believe them and will likely pass it on. This is known as simple diffusion because you don’t need much to pass it on. Information is typically a simple diffusion.
2. Complex diffusion
If that same passing person shouted over his shoulder to use Acme SaaS you’d be unlikely to buy it straight away.
That’s because complex diffusion is scenarios that are:
- Risk reputational damage
- Involve costly errors
All of which means you need to hear it from more than one source and the degree of trust you have in these sources matters a lot.
It’s often this distinction that causes B2B marketers to belittle word of mouth.
Sure getting your message out there for a SaaS platform is different to a new chocolate bar, but if you understand the nuance and value of word of mouth, you can leave those scoffing at it in your dust as you hoover up their customers.
Why does this matter for B2B SaaS? Simply, most B2B SaaS platforms fall into a complex diffusion.
So, to accelerate product adoption – read as lower CAC – and increase the longevity of your customers – read as increase LTV – you need to consider how your messages move from person to person.
Let’s start with the norm, after all, SaaS is a mature profession so there are established ways to get your message out there. With a complex diffusion lens on, traditional marketing activity is taking a random approach to things. It will work, but is it the most efficient?
The second is to try and identify these networks and then target your marketing. You’re still rolling dice, but you’ve cut the numbers down dramatically.
Ok, once you’ve identified where there is some form of word of mouth or network activity the next trick is activating it.
Now we are not the marketing experts – our data gives marketing experts like yourself the insight to better target for maximum impact from your creativity – but there are a few rules to keep in mind when working with word of mouth data.
1. Don’t focus on the individual, focus on the audience
We’re not trying to target, “Jane, 28, who likes to run”, we’re trying to target a social network that could include, Jane, Jon and Ethel.
The job here is to think about the context of the audience; Where are they, what are they doing.
2. Think about multiple touchpoints
As complex diffusion needs more social proof, they also benefit from seeing multiple messages so consider multiple channels. If you’re targeting online, could you bolster it with some Out of Home advertising?
It doesn’t have to be a billboard in Piccadilly Circus. In fact, the benefits of understanding these social networks means you can reach media locations that:
- Mean more to the audience
- Can be in areas where demand is less
- Doesn’t cost as much as you’d expect
For example, one customer reduced their spend on media in Canary Wharf, London, and switched it to sponsor a local football team in a town where the Herdify platform identified social activity.
Initiate word of mouth networks to boost your brand
Being able to activate word of mouth networks in your marketing also has the benefit of delivering compound growth to your marketing activity. This means growing your reach and engagement each month and year – ideal for SaaS and non-Saas companies alike.
Read more about that and how it can help you in How network theory is changing marketing.
Beyond that, with Herdify Customer Cluster Map you can see where people are talking about your brand or product.