Book of Andy Sernovitz “Word of Mouth Marketing. How Smart Companies Get People Talking” describes the types and techniques of word of mouth marketing, gives practical advice on how to implement word of mouth marketing in your business.

Word of mouth marketing can improve a company’s image, but it can also ruin it. You must use this tool carefully. Word of mouth marketing is effective for any products and services, as well as for your ideas and initiatives. 

Word of Mouth Marketing Book Cover

Andy Sernovitz divides definition of word of mouth marketing in two parts

1) you give people a reason to talk about your stuff.

2) you do everything to make this conversation easier.

The author identifies two types of word of mouth marketing — organic and amplified.

Organic word of mouth marketing is formed naturally due to the positive qualities of your company. The company does everything so correctly that people want to praise it.

Amplified word of mouth marketing is the launch of a special campaign to get people to talk.

There are four rules for word of mouth marketing

  1. Be interesting
  2. Make it easy
  3. Make people happy. Satisfied customers are your best advertisement.
  4. Earn trust and respect. Always maintain the dignity of your company.

Andy Sernovitz gives three reasons why people might talk about you

  1. “YOU” people love you and your stuff. They like what you do.
  2. “I” talking to people makes me feel great. People experience pleasant feelings from the fact that I made the right choice in your life.
  3. “WE” feel the connection with the group. People like to talk about belonging to an important or unique group of consumers.

The author proposes to create a plan for implementing word of mouth marketing, he leads the model The Five Ts.

The Five Ts model consists of the following main elements

  • Talkers: Who will tell their friends about you?
  • Topics: What will they talk about?
  • Tools: How can you help the message travel?
  • Taking part: How can you join the conversation?
  • Tracking: What are people saying about you?

At the same time, Andy Sernovitz warns that there are no ready-made formulas for the best word of mouth marketing. You need to try different methods until you find the right one for you.


You need to find people who like to talk about you. Talkers are any group of people with the desire and connections to spread your message.

The topic for word of mouth marketing is not an official marketing message or a formal brand promise

Andy Sernovitz lists the most common types of talkers:

1. Satisfied customers

2. People from the Internet who left you a comment on some website

3. Fans of logos. People want to show that they are part of your group of fans

4. Loyal employees

5. Listeners. Pay attention to the list of subscribers to your mail shots

6. Fans and enthusiasts (often bloggers)

7. Professionals. Reporters, columnists, critics, etc.

Don’t forget to thank the talkers for what they say about you.


You need to give people something to talk about. A good topic is a simple, clear, and easy-to-read topic. If you don’t give them a reason, they won’t talk about you. The topic for word of mouth marketing is not an official marketing message or a formal brand promise. This is a simple message that arouses interest and triggers discussion.

The best topic meets three simple requirements — they are simple, organic, and easy to distribute.

Andy Sernovitz identifies the following types of topics: special offers, great service, silliness (make people smile), partnerships with charities, neat ad, viral campaigns, free information, cool and unique products.


You need to make it easier to spread the message about you. Once you identify the talkers and find a topic for them, it’s time to figure out all the ways to speed up their spread.

The key properties of tools are speed and portability.

Andy Sernovitz describes the following distribution tools: “Tell-a-friend” form, viral emails, free samples and handouts, coupons, blogs, online and social media communities, exclusivity and personal engagement, stories about personal experiences, and customer reviews.

Tools that work on the Internet can be considered the most impressive and effective.

Taking part

You need to participate in the conversation. Word of mouth marketing is a dialogue. They talk about you and you respond. Your task is to join the conversation and enliven it.

To join the conversation, just take a few simple steps

  • Find a place where they talk
  • Respond and react
  • Thank those who speak well of you
  • Solve problems and satisfy customers
  • Regularly appear and participate in communication
Word of mouth marketing is a dialogue

Keep in mind that not all conversations about your company will be positive, it is possible that you will encounter negative reviews. In this case, Andy Sernovitz advises using four defensive strategies.

1. Win authority before you need it

2. Better if the criticism you receive on your website, not the hundreds of others

3. Sometimes the best way to respond is to ask your fans to do it for you

4. Conversations on the Internet are conducted very quickly — do not miss the moment


You need to listen to the rumor and draw conclusions. Find out what people are saying about you and track your performance. By tracking the message about your company, you can solve several problems at once.

To find out exactly what people are saying about you, you can use some of the simple methods below.

  • Encourage feedback
  • Pay attention to the “Tell-a-friend” templates

Andy Sernovitz advises paying attention to the following points: search blogs, read discussions on the Internet, listen to feedback, use advanced measurement technologies.

Word of mouth marketing is not hidden marketing. Don’t try to leave fake reviews, do everything in your name, clearly indicate who you are and who you represent, and only say what you really believe. 

The book of Andy Sernovitz is written especially for those who don’t know where to start. The advice given in the book is simple and clear, sometimes even obvious, but collected in a logical sequence, they become a guide to action.

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