Ditch Advertising and Craft Real Stories to Create Marketing “Fizz”


The book Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth helps employees & managers learn strategies behind effective word of mouth marketing.


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Ted Wright had an incredible idea for a word of mouth marketing campaign to capitalize on Delta Airline’s advantage as an employer with strong Atlanta-based roots. What if employees created yard signs that said “Your Delta Neighbor, Thanks for Flying With Us” outside their home?

Frustrated that management didn’t want to get involved, Mr. Wright created the signs anyway and put them outside his house and later his office door. People who saw the sign would stop by to inquire about the sign and share their stories of interacting with Delta. 

He won an award – then he was fired for insubordination. 

At another time in his life, Mr. Ted Wright needed to search for something. So he hopped online and searched on Netscape. After sifting through pages of results, he found what he wanted. Then someone leaned over and told him about this cool new site called Google. 

Guess which site is his favorite search engine? 

Both of these examples point to the power of WOMM (word of mouth marketing). As a marketing concept, word of mouth marketing has become the new kid on block. In a world where there are ever-increasing brands and startups popping up every day, marketers have turned to word of mouth marketing as a way to amplify their brand. 

What is Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), Exactly?

The problem is most marketers and business owners jumped on the bandwagon without really taking the time to study what makes word of mouth marketing work. Brands spend lots of money and time hiring brand ambassadors offering free samples, courting bloggers, and trying to “create a story” that engages and moves their potential customers to action.  A whole new field of marketing has been grown around the concept of finding an “influencer” and then loading them down with free stuff, so they can tell others about it. 

For some companies, word of mouth marketing leads to better sales and brand loyalty. For others, word of mouth marketing is a waste of time and money. What is it that makes a word of marketing campaign successful? What makes it tick and how can you use that knowledge for your business? 

Decrease Your Advertising Budget, Start Storytelling

The key message behind Fizz: Harness The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth is that the marketing landscape has changed. Brands can no longer depend on large advertising budgets to reach their customers. Customers are more savvy than ever, thanks to an ever growing array of tools that can give them more information than they could ever need. Customers are also overwhelmed by the ever-increasing number of brands that are competing for their already limited time. 

That solution, according to Fizz, represents the principles of word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing is more than offering referrals. Ted Wright actually hates them by the way. It’s digging deep into the stories the outside world is saying about your company and brand. Are people outside your circle of influence actually referring people to your brand? What stories are they sharing about your brand? The book recommends you actually find out face-to-face. 

Wright argues that you need to find the “talkable” part of your business. What is the distinctive feature(s) that sets your business apart from others? What are you known for? While most marketing books would advocate creating a survey or focus group, Fizz argues that you should meet real people face-to-face. Find out what stories and experiences they have experienced with your brand.

Once you have something distinctive that can improve or better a customer’s experience, offer a sample of your products or service to them in a “we have something cool and we’d like you to try it out” kind of way. From there, take ownership of the story and help it grow by developing the product and your customer’s relationships with that product.

Is Fizz Brand Insight or Brand Nonsense? Who Should Read It?

Fizz offers similar advice to many branding books out there, in some respects. Just about any branding will tell you to find an influencer and to create a story. Where this book is different is that it offers a more specific method for finding an influencer, measuring your influence, and distributing your story. In Fizz, Wright has a very specific definition of influencer (and “brand ambassador”) and offers some specific advice about who would be a good fit and how to train them. 

He also doesn’t focus on social media until relatively late in the book and then rather briefly. Fizz is also different in its tone. It’s not written for upper level management. Instead, it is written for the manager (or even employee) who wants to make a case for a word of mouth marketing to upper level management. 

Two chapters are of particular note, Chapters 7 and 8. Both contain information that runs counter to typical branding advice. In Chapter 7, Wright argues against referrals and questions whether the focus on influencer scores and catering to any blogger with a following is worth the risk.

Chapter 8 is notable because it advocates not spending any money on a word of mouth marketing campaign unless your business has income over $2 million. For those businesses who don’t make that kind of income, Wright suggests that the principles of Fizz will definitely help. But they cannot be implemented into his suggested  full-scale $450,000 word of mouth marketing campaign until you get that kind of income.

About the Author

Ted Wright is owner and founder of Fizz, a word of mouth marketing agency in Atlanta. You can find him on his company’s website and on Twitter @fizz_womm. The book Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth is available on Amazon. This review was based on an electronic copy of the book selected for reviewing purposes.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.