Growth January 20, 2020

The best word of mouth strategies I've come across

Harry Dry @harrydry

1) The Doubletree Cookie

On check-in at any Hilton Doubletree hotel, every single guest gets given a warm chocolate chip cookie.

75,000 are given out each day. 34% of guests tell their friends. That's 25,000 stories being told about Doubletree, every single day.

The unit cost of a cookie is $0.20.

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2) Skip's Kitchen

Skip’s is a classic Californian burger restaurant. Except just before you pay the waiter pulls out a deck of cards. If you pick the joker your meal is free.

The financial cost to Skip's is just $2 for every $100 spent. They'd never spent a single penny on advertising.

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3) The Neptune Theatre

In 1973, John Neville took over as director of the Neptune Theatre.

Every time a new show opened, he'd give free tickets to local taxi drivers. In return, they'd talk up the shows to their passengers.

Two years later theatre subscriptions had doubled.

4) Penn & Teller

Every Penn & Teller show ends the same way. The magicians dash up the center aisle of the theatre and wait in the foyer to greet their fans.

They take selfies, shake hands, and answer questions. Each night 200 customers leave with a story to tell.

That's how you become the longest-running headline act in Vegas history.

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Well executed word of mouth strategies can pull in customers just as reliably as paid ads or a well ranked blog post. Yet they're often neglected. Marketers are more comfortable imitating than originating.

Don't be afraid to stand out. Give your customers a story to tell and they'll sell your product for you.


Thanks for reading. If you'd like to learn more about marketing I write about real world marketing examples (like this one) over on MarketingExamples.com. Any questions, or other word of mouth strategies let me know :)

  1. 13

    "Sent from my iPhone"

    Cost: $0

    RoI: ∞

    1. 2

      best comment. going to steal. sending blessings

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        This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

  2. 3

    Very cool examples!

    I think one issue with this type of marketing is that it's hard to estimate the ROI. How would you know if such a campaign is profitable or not?

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      Good point. In the case of Doubletree they did a survey on how many customers talk about it and it came to 34%. So possible to estimate ROI. But yes, in some other cases you're going with your gut.

  3. 2

    Honestly I'm mad that I didn't know about the cookies! Should I book a room from the Doubletree down the street for a night? :O

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      Hahah! Pop in and tell them you travelled the length and breadth of America for acookies. Maybe they'll give you one for free?!

  4. 2

    Don't be afraid to stand out. Give your customers a story to tell and they'll sell your product for you.

    Absolutely! Thank you for sharing!

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      Pleasure. Thank you for reading.

  5. 2

    Loved this Harry. These examples trigger a lot of ideas.

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      Cheers Dru! I love this type of marketing cause it disconnects inputs from outputs.

      The decision to introduce a pack of playing cards at Skip's has more than doubled their revenue. And it takes 30 seconds for someone to suggest that ...

  6. 2

    Top-notch as always Harry - cheers!

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      Pleasure - Cheers Josh. How's it all going with Exploding Topics?

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        It's going well - just hit 7K subs!

        You're crushing it on Reddit too. Keep it up man ;)

  7. 1

    Love these examples.

  8. 1

    Hey @harrydry, I just heard Marketing Examples mentioned on my favourite marketing podcast, Everyone Hates Marketers. Listen to the “4 No-BS Steps to Launch A Successful Newsletter” episode (February 11, 2020) from 58:45 to hear your well-deserved mention! https://www.everyonehatesmarketers.com/grow-newsletter-audience/

    1. 1

      Awesome - cheers for sharing Mark! Great mention.

      Funnily enough, I got in touch with Louis after this episode and we then did a podcast. Hopefully coming out soon.

      1. 1

        Fantastic. I look forward to that episode!

  9. 1

    Thanks for sharing!

    Commented also @ voize.me

  10. 1

    Interesting read as always. Keep up the good work!

    1. 1

      Cheers Andras.

  11. 1

    These are amazing! Thank you for sharing!

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      Pleasure

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    This comment was deleted 6 months ago.

    1. 1

      Cheers Bakar! Appreciated