Live from New Orleans: WOMMA's Word of Mouth Basic Training

I'm just a whiff (or a riff, depending on your proclivities) from New Orleans' famed French Quarter, ready to do my part to spread the gospel of WOMMA.

Tuesday morning launched the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's WOMBAT conference, which promises to help this fast-growing group of converts "master the art of word of mouth, viral, buzz and blog marketing."

Now I've schmoozed my way through more than a few conferences in my time. But WOMMA feels different. While there are the occasional acknowledged rockstars, no one so far has actually acted like a rockstar.

Everyone is mixing, matching and helpfully dispensing the proverbial nuggets of wisdom in a truly democratic and uber-practical fashion. I've marched out of every seminar with information I can use right now, today, to make my business better and my clients' business better.

That may be why the big guys are showing up in record numbers -- including reps from A&E to Coca-Cola North America to Energizer and GE, Intuit and Jet Blue, Nintendo, Nestle, Rustoleum, Warner Music, Dow Chemical and Yahoo.

Like many of her fellow marketers, Energizer's Beverly Berkenfeld is at WOMMA as something of an advance scout. The company knows they need to be involved; what Beverly takes back from two days of buzz boot camp will help them navigate the increasingly treacherous ethical waters already tainted by the occasional WOM gone bad. (On the subject of negative WOM, tune back in later this week for the customer-savvy mea culpa delivered by JetBlue's Director of Marketing.)

What's clear once you're here, aside from the deluge of Po-Boys and deep fried everything, is that "Word of Mouth isn't just a marketing technique - it's a fundamental way of doing business," said Ed Keller, President, WOMMA Board of Directors in his welcome speech.

I agree wholeheartedly. That's why I'm now off to a seminar called: How To Do Word of Mouth: 40 Ideas You Can Act On Tomorrow.

I promise I'll share.

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