Sean Moffitt Buzzes About Word Of Mouth

Live-Blogging Moffitt's PresentationI had the pleasure of attending a recent presentation by Sean Moffitt of Agent Wildfire to a speaker series event at work.
I’ve followed Sean’s blog for a while, so I was excited to meet him and hear his thoughts on word of mouth marketing. I wasn’t disappointed.

I live-blogged Sean’s presentation; unfortunately my fingers couldn’t keep up with the amazing information he kept throwing at us. I was particularly impressed with his focus on ethical practices – a hot topic recently and something I’m big on.

With Sean’s permission I’m posting his slides here.

Two parts of the presentation struck me as particularly insightful:

Don’t Rush Into Word of Mouth Marketing

Fools rush in to creating buzz. Sean outlined nine key questions to ask before you should launch a word of mouth initiative:

  1. Do you have a story?
  2. Is this a new initiative/audience/feature?
  3. Can you customize/experience the offering?
  4. Is the benefit complex?
  5. Is there a high need for credibility? Authenticity?
  6. How frequent is the use/purchase of service/product?
  7. Is there a natural influencer group/fan base?
  8. What is your current reputation in this area? Resources?
  9. Do you have an appetite for risk?

Success Factors for Viral Advertising/Marketing

Sean actually wrote a great post about this recently, you can check this topic out in more detail here.

Here are his 14 viral/buzz success factors:

  1. Humour (e.g. John West)
  2. Authentic & Cause-Driven (Dove Evolution)
  3. Taboo (Agent Provocateur)
  4. Remarkability/Creative (Sony Bravia)
  5. Outrageous (Trojan Games/Will It Blend)
  6. Mystery (Ronaldinho)
  7. Celebrity (Paris/Perez Hilton)
  8. Clever Visual Idea (Honda Cog)
  9. Schadenfaude [embarrassing] (Dell Hell)
  10. Interactive/Customized (Subservient Chicken)
  11. Unusual Talent (OK Go)
  12. User-Generated (iPod Touch ad)
  13. Spoof (Slob Evolution)
  14. Free (Radiohead)

Hit on a winner in one of these key themes, and you’ll be in good shape. The chances of this happening, though, are small – according to Sean they’re in the 10-15% area, and the best are inside 1%.

According to Sean:

Viral success, or more the lack of it, is a function of: a) the competition from thousands of campaigns, b) the particular context for launching a campaign, c) the initial push you can give it, both paid and unpaid and d) tapping into a core viral motivations of wanting to pass something along. It’s certainly more art than science!

A Few Good Examples

Lastly, Sean left us with a few great examples of some governments/causes/NGOs that are doing great work in this field:

For more great info, check out the rest of Sean’s presentation or head over to his blog.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.