01 February 2006

WOMBAT Roundup: Overview

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) held a conference in mid-January at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, home of Disney Magic. The conference, known as WOMBAT (for punny reasons) was a triumph of organization and lightning-in-a-bottle timing. Word of mouth marketing is THE hot topic today in the always-important category of “making profits happen”.

However, word of mouth marketing is not new: it’s as old as conversation. What makes it the in-thing nowadays is its exponential power, thanks to technology and the Internet. What with e-mail, instant messaging, free cell phone calls, VoIP, blogs, podcasts, forums, social networks, tagging and product review websites, the power of a few choice words shared freely has gone from 1-to-1 marketing to 1-to-the-world, with millions tuning in to their preferences.

WOMMA was founded less than a year ago and already boasts 250+ members, an impressive growth spurt. Andy Sernovitz and his colleagues have focused their efforts on not only growing the organization, but also developing the basic foundation of word of mouth marketing so that the unsavory elements—the shills, spammers, stealth marketers, unethical telemarketers and the like—are pushed aside.

The conference in Orlando boasted a stellar line-up, with names such as Don Peppers, George Silverman, Bob Mankoff, Bob Garfield, Bryan Eisenberg and Scott Ginsberg, along with bloggers Steve Rubel, Yvonne DiVita and Toby Bloomberg, amongst others. For My money, the Big Gun was George Silverman, a guy who was pitching word of mouth marketing when the rest of Us were sucking Our thumbs. If WOMMA wants to up the ante and become a world-class organization, the first step is giving Silverman a major keynote spot in their next conference. He was the pioneer and he’s still the intellectual heart of this movement. (And he’s moving ahead at light speed. Mark My words.)

As for the rest, you’ll be reading about them in upcoming posts, especially George (again), Scott, Yvonne and Don Peppers. They made deep impressions on The Jenius and that ain’t an easy task.

If you’re looking for more information on word of mouth marketing as it applies to Puerto Rico, drop by Refiereme.com, or subscribe to Mercadeo Social, a monthly e-zine from the good people at Computers & Business World. (Disclosure: The Jenius is a consultant to Refiereme and writes and edits Mercadeo Social. Yeah, busy busy Me.)

One last word: If you’re wrapped up in your MBA-ness and don’t see what the fuss is about word of mouth marketing, please please stay in that mode. The rest of Us love you stationary targets We can turn into business roadkill.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


Aníbal said...

The Cluetrain Manifesto is a book that deals in such matters as word or mouth (but not only that) from the place where it hurts more, your own employees. The book is available online for free at the link provided.

As inferred from the book's title it doesn't say anything we don't know, but still the things it says seem to be wrapped over a particularly heavy "cluestick" in the hands a of a proverbial Clemente.

Toby - The Diva ;-) said...

Gil - thanks for the shout out. It was terrific to meet you also. Here's to the next time!