THE WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING ASSOCIATION is putting its marketing where its mouth is. The association, founded in October 2004, will host its first-ever Word of Mouth Marketing Conference March 29-30 in Chicago. To publicize the event, the group has used-you guessed it-several word-of-mouth tactics to generate buzz and draw attendees. "To prove word of mouth works, we asked every one of our speakers to tell every one of their friends to tell every one of their friends," said Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the association, which goes by the endearingly bizarre acronym of WOMMA. "And it's working." In addition to creating a blog and e-mail newsletters about the conference, WOMMA gave each member company an individual discount code to pass along to clients and partners. As of press time (three weeks before the event) the organization had about 100 registrants, out of a maximum of 250 available spots. Sernovitz argues that word-of-mouth marketing is even more important for b-to-b marketers than it is for their consumer marketing counterparts. "You don't make big, sophisticated, complicated purchases without talking to friends and associates who have used the product before," he said. For more information on the conference, visit www.womma.org/summit.
SHOULD YOU BE SCARED OF "PODCASTING"? Sure, it sounds like that's what diabolical sci-fi villains do once they've body-snatched a WOMMA, but there's nothing to fear, according to Joe Norris, managing partner of ad agency Sullivan Higdon & Sink. Not long ago, this column detailed SHS' 33 1/3 birthday radio broadcast. Now, the agency is exploring what podcasting-whereby a subscriber receives audio programs delivered via the Internet-can do for its clients. SHS has started podcasting "American Copywriter," a weekly advertising show hosted by Kansas City creatives John January and Tug McTighe, from www.wehatesheep.com/ americancopywriter.com. "Honestly, it's not that difficult at all; and you don't have to be a tech geek to figure it out," Norris said. "We're using our own podcast as a test bed to help determine the medium's potential as a viable marketing tool for our clients." Another company, competitive intelligence provider Cerado , is also betting that sales and marketing types will take to podcasting. Cerado is now providing its intelligence reports in MP3 audio format for, say, a sales exec who is driving to a client site and needs to listen to a last-minute refresher on the competition's vital stats.