I was part of Word of Mouth (WOM) and Brand Advocacy (more like Taco Advocacy) long before I truly understood what these terms meant. When I was in high school, my friend, Nate Kristoff’s family had everyone and their mothers over for tacos every Tuesday afternoon. Believe me when I say everyone and their mothers.
What started out as a small, weekly tradition for families and friends, grew into something larger as unknown members of the Marin Catholic High School community were encouraged to go to the Kristoff’s for swimming and tacos once a week.
I remember my first Taco Tuesday. My friend John always talked about it and insisted I go. He was constantly spreading his taco excitement by recruiting newcomers. Hardly anyone knew me my first time, but the genuine hospitality the Kristoff’s displayed not only made me feel welcome, it made me come back multiple times—often with a guest of my own. Five years later, Taco Tuesday still thrives.
The Advocacy wiz might already see the relevant marketing mechanisms at work in my story. But for the rest of you, let’s break down my experience.
- Taco Tuesday and the hospitality of the Kristoff family created highly satisfied guests and enthusiastic Advocates.
- Taco Tuesday grew quickly because Taco Tuesday Advocates (like John) recommended Taco Tuesday to others in the community.
- John and other Taco Tuesday Advocates were trusted sources as they weren’t incentivized by the Kristoff’s in any way—it was genuine advocacy at work.
- As Advocates recruited Taco Tuesday attendees, more Advocates were created, showing that advocacy is a long-term and dependable marketing method.
Now, in this case, Taco Tuesday and community bonding at the Kristoff’s wasn’t about dollar signs; but imagine if it was. Kristoff Tacos could have been commoditized and sold for a profit, and with all the other elements of my story in place, you can guess what would have happened. If you’re thinking soaring sales, you are on the right track.
The WOM for Taco Tuesday occurred offline. But what if Taco Tuesday Advocates like John were given the means to spread their excitement via Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or email?
These ideas and their value are seemingly obvious, but marketers and business owners should go beyond simply hanging a “write us a review on Yelp” sign in their store windows. Instead, marketers should be systematically identifying Brand Advocates, giving them the tools to spread the word quickly and conveniently, and tracking the boost in sales that are surely to come.