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Andy’s Answers: How to kill your word of mouth

With all the work it takes to build an army of loyal fans, it may be surprising how easily a few bad decisions can tear it all down.

When the buzz is great, it can seem like your word of mouth is unstoppable or that you don’t need to do much. But the best word-of-mouth marketers are always working to nurture and grow their fan base, and they know how to avoid the common mistakes that can kill the conversation.

How word of mouth dies:

  • You mix love and money. People engage in word of mouth because they love you and your stuff and it makes them feel good to talk about it. When you pay them for it, it suddenly feels dirty and awkward.
  • Too much talk. The unfortunate demise of both Crocs and Krispy Kreme donuts were largely the result of overexposure. When everyone had them — when they could be bought in every convenience store and shopping mall — there was no longer a reason to show them off.
  • You get lazy. Brands kill their word of mouth when stop introducing new topics, when they stop putting in the hard work it takes to connect fans, and when they slack on the product quality and customer service that earned them all the love in the first place.