Rockstars on WOMM

At the last WOMM Supergenius conference we went to Martin’s talk, and we walked away with a ton of ideas… check out his post below, and come see Martin and others at the WOMM CrashCourse Conference May 10th in Austin, TX!



[Welcome back to our Word of Mouth Marketing Lessons newsletter. This is text from the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using this handy form.]

Martin Atkins is a rock star.

Like, an actual rock star. He’s a drummer and has played for bands like Public Image Ltd., Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails. Today he still tours and performs on stage — but now he does it to teach new bands how to earn loyal fans.

The bands he works with have no budgets, no extra resources, and face a crowded and noisy market. Sound familiar?

Martin spoke at our last word of mouth event, and as a preview for our Word of Mouth Crash Course in Austin on May 10, we wanted to share it with you. (If you love this presentation, register here to see more like it live and in person).

His tips for getting people talking:

1. Aim low, start small, and stay humble
2. When in doubt, DTO
3. Small is the new huge
4. Steal ideas from other industries
5. Make it one-of-a-kind
6. Watch Martin’s video

1. Aim low, start small, and stay humble

Martin talks about how bands often start out by worrying about filling stadiums of 20,000 people — but that’s before they’ve taken the time to think about the first two fans on the couch who might actually love them. Martin says to start small, think small, and stay humble. Very, very few bands earn 20,000 fans at a time. Instead, focus on the first two and then repeat 9,999 more times. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

2. When in doubt, DTO

If all else fails, DTO: Do The Opposite. During his presentation, Martin pulled out a giant old cell phone and told the story of how he once walked into a crowded room of celebrities and pulled it out. His point: You can’t win the new iPhone/Blackberry/Droid game. But you can do something unexpected, memorable, and remarkable by doing the opposite.

3. Small is the new huge

Martin works with bands all the time and says that if given the choice, a band will always choose the 5,000 or 20,000-person venue over a small one. But that’s not creating the best experience. Instead, he urges them to choose the smaller venue — one they can sell out and leave people standing outside wanting in. Martin shared the story of how one band actually got a record deal by locking everyone out of the venue, which drove a bunch of interest in them.

4. Steal ideas from other industries

Rock superstars Radiohead got everyone talking when they released their album and told fans to “pay what you want.” A few years later, Panera did it with one of their branches in St. Louis. And again — people talked about how brilliant it was. You can do this too. Look for ideas that create excitement in other industries and markets and give them a try. If it fails to create word of mouth — no problem! That means nobody knows about it (and you can try again).

5. Make it one-of-a-kind

People talk about the different, the unique, and the can’t-get-anywhere-else. Musicians are doing it by creating one-off merchandise at tents outside of concerts. They’re doing goofy things with their packaging (Martin once released an album that smelled like blueberry muffins). This works in business too: Your fans want to see your personality and your uniqueness. So, what can you make more personal today?

6. Watch Martin’s video

Watch Martin’s video below (but a friendly warning: A lot of Martin’s great ideas are wrapped in NSFW language). And to see more incredible presentations like it live, check out the lineup for our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course conference.


Learn word of mouth in one incredible day – Austin, May 10th

Recent post from Andy’s Blog:

“You have ideas that the world needs to hear.

But great ideas don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

You need to help it along, and that takes word of mouth marketing.

Learn how to do this at the Word of Mouth Crash Course on May 10 in Austin.

This is the “How to be Great at Word of Mouth Marketing” conference.

Learn specific, useful strategies to get people talking about you:

12 How-to Classes:
Simple hands-on lessons on essential word of mouth skills

12 Case Studies:
Real-world success stories from Dell, Costco, Boeing, Domino’s, and more

6 Brilliant Authors:
Bob Pearson, Jeanne Bliss, Steve Farber, Rohit Bhargava, and more

Compelling Keynotes:
Southwest Airlines’ Colleen Barrett and Word of Mouth guru Andy Sernovitz

See the fascinating full agenda:

Our promise: You’ll use what you learn to get more business the very next day, without spending money.

Get simple, hands-on advice from people who’ve really done it. This is a practical, you-can-do-it, blow-your-mind-with-results kind of day.

Make it work for you with real-world case studies from companies just like yours. Make it work with no budget — just brains, vision, energy, and a compelling reason for people to talk about you.

You’re going to learn how love and happiness bring in more customers.

And I guarantee you’ll feel lovelier and happier when you get more sales while spending much less on marketing.

Find out all the details:
The Word of Mouth Crash Course
The “How to be Great at Word of Mouth Marketing” Conference
May 10, Austin

You’ll learn the 12 essential word of mouth skills to run an effective word of mouth marketing program.

1. How to be work with influential talkers
2. How to join conversations about your brand
3. How to create buzzworthy topics
4. How to deal with negative word of mouth
5. How to inspire word of mouth with customer service
6. How to measure word of mouth
7. How to get people talking offline
8. How to get great reviews
9. How to be amazing in social media
10. How to create word of mouth on zero budget
11. How to create a fan community
12. How to stay ethical and out of trouble

Learn about the fascinating experts teaching each class:

12 fantastic brands will show you exactly how they do it, so you can bring in more customers too.

Real advice based on real-world word of mouth success stories from Discovery Communications, Maker’s Mark, Noodles & Company, Threadless, WindsorONE, Don’t Mess With Texas,, Movember, Costco, Domino’s, Boeing, and P&G.

Learn about the incredible case studies:

Why is it a one-day conference?

Because we’re going to blow your mind, man.

Because you are going to be so energized, so empowered, so excited to do what you learn — that there’s no way you’ll be able to sit still for a second day.

You will run out of this meeting and plan your first big word of mouth campaign. You’ll do it the next day. It’ll be simple, easy, and cheap.

And you’ll get more customers. Immediately.

And then you’ll do it again. A little bigger. And again. A lot bigger.

And then you’ll be bringing in more customers, every day, because your fans will tell their friends how much they love you.

But I’d rather spend all my money on expensive advertising!

You go, girl. Advertising might work for you. Not us.

Advertising is the price of being boring.

You only have two ways to get your message out there: Love or money.

You can buy advertising, you can pay people to talk for you. But you always pay, every time — forever.

But when people talk for love instead of money, it’s sustainable and renewable and it grows with use instead of getting used up.

Now is the time to build an army of fans who will talk about you because they love you.

Find out how you can stop paying for ads and start earning love:

Love? Happiness? WTF?

This isn’t Woodstock. We’re talking about selling stuff.

Southwest Airlines has nearly 40 consecutive years of profits.

In an industry where everyone else is struggling financially, facing disgruntled employees, and making customers angry, Southwest is thriving.

In her keynote, Southwest’s President Emeritus, Colleen Barrett, will teach us how she inspired an entire company to earn the love and respect of their customers — and how it’s led to incredible success.

(We do it here at with 10 employees and some clever interns. It works for any size company. It’ll work for you.)

You’ll meet Colleen and learn how to lead with “LUV.”

Learn all about Colleen’s keynote:

Holy moly! Do I get to have lunch with an amazing author?

Yes, you do. It’ll be a tough choice.

Bob Pearson — author of “Pre-Commerce: How Companies and Customers are Transforming Business Together”

Jeanne Bliss — author of “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad”

Steve Farber — author of “The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do”

Greg Link — author of “Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World”

Rohit Bhargava — author of “Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action”

Rob Fugetta — author of “Energize!: How to Turn Social Media & Word of Mouth into Sales by Energizing Brand Advocates”

Check out their fascinating books:

This is not what you are expecting.

No panels, no vendors, no blather, no selling.

30 speakers. 20 minutes each. TED-conference style. It’s fast, it’s fascinating, and new ideas come shooting at you like marshmallows from a marshmallow gun.

Why TED-style? Because if it’s good enough for Billy Graham, Bill Gates, and Bill Clinton, it’s good enough for us marketing dudes.

But I hate conferences!!

This is not a conference. You won’t find yourself locked in a dark hotel ballroom with scary carpet and bad light for three days.

It’s one invigorating, intense day in a sunny room. 20-foot windows and blue skies. An environment to open your spirit and open your mind to ideas that will change how you do business forever.

You’ll be refreshed, excited, and ready to do it.

And great food, all the time. We’ll keep you on a sugar and caffeine high. (I’m sure there will be a broccoli, if you’d rather have that.)

Is it really as good as you say?

It’s better. Here’s what past attendees had to say:
“This conference was excellent.”
-Seth Brewer, The Hartford

“Definitely a ‘must attend’ conference.”
-Michelle Halm, Kolcraft

“This conference is worth twice what was charged.”
-Delaina Lee, The Coleman Company

“This is awesome: well-organized, effective, and the people are smart.”
-Molly Catalano, Five Guys

“My senses were popped, poked, and plastered with information, perspective, and knowledge — all in a ‘this is how you do it’ format.”
-Jim Fitzpatrick, Santa Barbara Montessori School

“All I can say about this conference is WOW.”
-Stephanie Lewis, TC Public Relations

“Great content throughout the day really kept things fresh!”
-Brent Bynum, State Farm Insurance

“I enjoyed every moment of the event.”
-Saul Colt, Thoora

“An excellent and extraordinary conference!”
-Lane Becker, Get Satisfaction

“A stellar event!”
-Nichole DuPont, BUNN

“Short, sweet, and to the point.”
-Michele Gehrmann, Progressive Insurance

“I got my money’s worth in the first 20 minutes! The conference was full of ready-to-use tips and advice.”
-Janine Smiley, Dairy Farmers of America

“I got a hand cramp after the first two hours of feverishly trying to take down all the cutting edge ideas coming my way.”
-Bill Moller, TC Public Relations

“What a well run seminar! Everyone stayed right on time and there was plenty of time to network and talk to peers.”
-Sandra Buettner, Johnson Controls

“The content was top-notch. The quality of speakers were great. The vibe was very good.”
-John Moore, Brand Autopsy

“We now have so many ideas we don’t even know where to start!”
-Heather Vyvyan, Educators Credit Union

“This event was super. Super informative, super collaborative, and super-well organized and executed.”
-Bruce Montgomery, Technology Access Television

“It felt good to know I was surrounded by others who share my passion for WOM marketing and crazy ideas that help spread the word.”
-Shannon Huot, Educators Credit Union

Find out how you could feel this good:

Still not convinced? Look who comes to our events:

Word of mouth and social media leaders from 3M, Aflac, Allstate, American Express, American Family Insurance, Ariba, AT&T, Audi, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Boeing, Campbell Soup, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Chick-fil-A, Cisco, Clorox, Coach, Coca-Cola, Coldwell Banker, Community Medical Centers, ConAgra Foods, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Discover, Dole, Domino’s, DuPont, eBay, FedEx, Ford, Gannett, Gap, GE, General Mills, General Motors, Google, Graco, Hertz, The Home Depot, HP, H&R Block, HSBC, Humana, IBM, IKEA, Intel, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss, Mattel, Mayo Clinic, McDonald’s, MetLife, Michelin, Microsoft, Molson, NHL, NBC Universal, Nestle Purina, Nokia, Northwestern Mutual, Novartis, Oracle, Orbitz, PayPal, PepsiCo, Petro-Canada, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, SAP, Sears, Serta, Sharpie, Sony, Sprint, Starbucks, State Farm, Sun Microsystems, SunGard, Symantec, Target, The North Face, Ticketmaster, TiVo, Turner Broadcasting System, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, UPS, USAA, U.S. Navy, Verizon, VIZIO, Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Whirlpool.

(And a lot of regular-size companies, too.)
Join them:

But I still don’t believe you. It couldn’t be that good.

The Word of Mouth Crash Course is so great we’re giving it all away — because we know you’ll just have to show up and see it live.

Watch the videos from our last event right here:

But are the new speakers as good as last time?

Yes — that’s why we’re letting you listen to a special preview interview with every single speaker here:

Even if you can’t make the event, you’ll learn a ton. Share the videos with your office and friends.

Any other details?

What: Word of Mouth Crash Course
When: May 10
Where: Austin, TX

Important note: Attendees of our conferences report whiter teeth, shinier hair, lose an average of 6 pounds, and earn the respect of their peers. Results may vary.

All the details:

Strong Builder WOMM


Talk about some strong WOMM.

Across the street from this “blogger’s” (lol) home, a builder, architect, and investor built a very nice spec home… which they recently finished and sold.

Here’s the letter my wife and I, and surrounding neighbors, received today:

And the certificate:

What a brilliant idea.

Rest assured that I’ll be calling these guys when it’s time to remodel.

Herb Hawkins Construction & Rizzo Associates.


Guy K on Steve J

We enjoy following Guy Kawasaki’s blog, “How to Change the World.”

His last post, “What I Learned from Steve Jobs,” can be found here.  Below is the beginning “two of twelve”…

“Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.

1) Experts are clueless.  Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.

2) Customers cannot tell you what they need.  Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.

Read more


MH on Objections

Good post from Miller Heiman on Objections and Basic Issues:

What Isn’t Your Customer Telling You?

An objection is really an opportunity. It gives you a chance to target the information you are missing.

When your prospect raises an objection, listen for what she’s not telling you because that objection is merely a symptom of an underlying Basic Issue. That Basic Issue is something deeply personal that leads the prospect to believe she’ll be taking a risk and will be on the losing side if she agrees to your proposal.

An objection such as: “We do not have time for this,” may actually be telling you that the customer feels overwhelmed given the current projects this quarter. Taking on more would make her appear incompetent, or that she will have to work longer hours thereby sacrificing time with family.  You also hear the common objection, “Your price is outrageous!” A possible translation would be that this person has sponsored a similar project in the past that did not deliver as expected and she’s not confident that approving yours would improve her credibility to the board.

The severity of the customer’s Basic Issue can go from bad to worse over time unless you consciously step in. Do so any time in the sales call where you sense your customer is in an “I’m losing” frame of mind. There are ways to discuss and work with those feelings but the one thing you should NOT do is to deny their validity. Saying something like, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” is a surefire way of killing your deal on the spot.

Instead, ask questions like: “You had shown a little uncertainty about how my proposal will affect your team’s current workload (or structure). Do you still feel that’s a potential problem?” Or simply call it out with a direct question, “If I could give you a proposal that would make you entirely comfortable, what would it look like?”

No matter how you phrase the questions, the objective is to uncover the area of distress so you can address it. And because you’re dealing with feelings and attitudes, it’s especially important that you pause and listen to the answers. You want to convey to your prospect that you are a partner who is invested in her success as a result of this deal.

Tips Archive
Did you miss the previous issues? Get them here.

Bring It On BlogWell…

Sernovitz and the Gaspedal crew via are bringing a cool event to SanFran on June 20th…


Yours Truly will be there…

… and I’ll have a tabletop, signing copies of my new book:

Smackdown! How to get the public to perceive you’re still a man, even though your wife beats you at home.

Should be a best seller on Amazon.

Sernovitz was kind enough to send me a discount code for 33% off, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you da info.

Two Roles, That’s It Kid


If you really think it through, there are only two roles within any Company’s organization:

  1. Sales; and,
  2. Sales Support.

If you’re truly a Customer-Centric organization, then there quite simply can’t be any other role within your Company.


If you do have other roles, then you’re a product-centric company.

Everyone in your organization ultimately touches the product (service), the process, and definitively affects the Customer’s Experience.

It’s about a different paradigm: focus on your products, or focus on how your Customers EXPERIENCE your products.