The best kind of marketing (Karl Staib)

Wii_box Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Karl Staib.  Again. Enjoy!

What's the best kind of marketing? Easy.  Word of mouth marketing. The reason it's so good… it's relevant to the consumer. We relate to what our friends like.

We want to own what makes our friends happy because we believe it will make us happy too. If my friend buys the latest U2 album from iTunes, I'll be more likely to hear it in his car, enjoy it and want it too.

The Wii

I recently played the Wii over at my friend's house and fell in love with the active style of play. You move your arms, legs, and hips and there is always some laughter and excitement occurring in the room.

I'm adverse to television, video games, and anything that doesn't keep your brain or body active. Don't get me wrong, I watch the occasional stupid sitcom (love Scrubs), but most of my free time is spent building content for my blog, walking with my wife at the local park, or having a good conversation over a meal with friends.

Now that the disclaimer is over…I went out and plunked down $320 for a game system, extra game and a controller. I haven't owned a game system in over twenty years! I did this because my friend raved about it after I spotted it under his TV; we quickly ate dinner then played Mario Kart and Wii Fit (an exercise game). I was sold by its easy to use platform and the physically active nature of the game.

Restrict Access and Get More Word of Mouth

I don't know if they restricted the number of units that are shipped to the US on purpose, but the Wii is still hard to find. On-line stores are selling them in bundles (the game system with 4 games you don't want) to make extra money.

This only got me more curious. Why was everyone so excited about this game system? I kept hearing good things and everyone knows the old adage. It takes 12 to 18 repetitions before convincing someone who is a good prospect to buy your service or product.

Be Like the Wii

I haven't been so excited to throw down a chunk of money since my honeymoon to Italy. So the moral of the story is keep yourself out there. Give your customers a reason to tell their friends about you and when they call, don't give them instant access. When you appear too eager you'll lose their interest. Because the Wii was hard to get, it made me pine after it even more. Don't make them wait weeks to see you or buy your product, but make sure they know you are a popular company that is sought out for its quality work.

Nintendo created a system that made me so excited that I was guaranteed to be happy just to play it in my living room. Now that I own it, it's even better than I hoped. So the cycle has come full circle. I'm continuing the wonderful cycle of word of mouth marketing that sells products faster than Nintendo can make them.

Karl Staib writes about unlocking and kicking open the door to working happy at his own blog: Work Happy Now! Check out one of his most popular articles, Give Employees the Power to Impress Customers.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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8 comments on “The best kind of marketing (Karl Staib)

  1. Justin Brady says:

    Concerning the “”Be Like the Wii” section: How does your company offer absolutely incredible service without appearing “too eager” or “hard to get”? Anyone?

  2. Green says:

    Someday I can see the WII being an entire chapter in marketing textbooks. Like you we ended up falling in love with the interaction and the ability of the games to help with hand eye coordination with the kids. The product shortages this year probably were actually due to the overwhelming demand, I heard they sold 2 million units in November.

  3. Justin,

    I think the way Wii pulled it off is that it wasn’t manufactured. It’s pretty hard to fake something like that, long-term.

    I think there’s a fine line between wanting to offer incredible customer service and blatant ass kissing. One’s authentic and the other is an act that gets put on to fool the customer. You know what I mean?


  4. Green,

    You could be right. It is certainly a whole new level of gaming. And the lengths that people have gone to get a unit is the stuff marketing legends are made of!


  5. The Wii has set a new standard and now the other game makers have to catch up. That’s the best part about being first to market with a new concept. The company might not make all the right moves, but it’s actually okay because there isn’t any competition.

    Thank you for letting me guest post. I’m a huge fan of the Drew’s Marketing Minute. There is always something interesting to read on this blog.

  6. Karl,

    Agreed — that’s the beauty of being first. If you honor that original brand and protect it, it’s tough for others to ever catch up.

    Glad to have you as a guest blogger!


  7. Piotr J. says:

    IMHO, the first step in stimulating WOM is creating a product that exceeds expectations and gives a good reason for this hubbub. I remember people at first being skeptical of the Wii being able to compete with the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, gaming systems that were turbocharged with the fastest chips, best graphics and unbelievably overstretched budgets.

    And then you have the Wii. Graphics are decent, but the whole aura of the game centers around the gameplay. Gameplay = fun, and when people have fun they’ll talk about it.

    I’ve played my fair share of Wii, and although it may not be the same as throwing that awesome touchdown pass in Madden (and then posting it online for others to see), it definitely provides a great basis for a fun evening with some friends.

  8. Poitr,

    I think the Wii reminds us that even though the buyers are in the same category — they may not want the same thing.

    I understand why the PS3 or Xbox360 are appealing to serious gamers. But, I’d much rather laugh while my 70+ mom tries to golf or actually be able to be competitive with my 15 year old daughter in tennis.

    I love the interactiveness of the Wii. When you play with other people, you’re really engaging with them. That’s not been my experience with the other gaming systems.


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