Making the Most of Word-of-Mouth by Mike Ficher

August 24, 2009 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

Follow up on your pro performance with proactive steps to build your buzz

Colorful brochures, eye-popping web sites and elaborate advertising pieces are certainly critical elements to attract business in the highly competitive world of the mobile entertainer. But, arguably, your most enticing and compelling marketing tool available is one that is, perhaps, most under your control-your performance.

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Most marketing experts support the concept that the most cost-effective advertising is word of mouth. If a client enjoys a transactional experience that fulfills or exceeds their needs and expectations, when asked for a recommendation, they are likely to think of your company. Conversely, when a performance falls short of their hopes, the double-edged sword of word of mouth can be piercing for the entertainment service.

Ivan Misner, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Masters of Networking, calls “word-of-mouth marketing truly the world’s best-known marketing secret.”

Writing also at www.entrepreneur.com, Misner muses: “What if there were a way to build your business, year in and year out, regardless of fluctuations in the economy or the activities of your competition?”

To support the marketing of your performance, you must own the actual steak before creating the sizzle. Thus, your performance must be worthy of the word-of-mouth marketing.

Tune Def

Certainly, your musical selections must be appropriate for your event. Are your floors filled? Are guests tapping their toes even when they are not dancing? Is your volume supportive of conversation when merited? Are you identifying the clients’ musical goals and aligning your selections and sets to optimize achievement? Music provides the majority of audio content at just about every event serviced by a mobile entertainer. How do you measure up to clients’ musical outlook?

Say What?

An increasingly critical element in the measurement of a mobile entertainers’ performance is their voice talent. Are your word choices sensible and sensitive? Do you speak clearly and concisely? Are your topics relevant to the moment at the event? Do you vary modulation to emphasize specific words, phrases and ideas? Are you engaging, entertaining, informative and compelling?

If you feel a learning opportunity exists, classes are available through colleges and voice agencies in most major cities and many mid-sized communities. Enrolling might be the best investment you can make in developing your performance skills.

Act One

The days of the behind-the-console, music-is-the-message, look-at-my-cool-equipment entertainers are fast becoming as obsolete as DAT tape, 8-tracks and fax machines. At least moderate interaction, even if the association is limited to conversations with guests about requests or information about the celebrants, is becoming more critical in determining the capability of an entertainer.

If you can lead games, instruct dances, conduct trivia contests, emcee American Idol or Dancing with the Stars-style segments, or host games shows, your value to your client and your range of possible gigs increases immeasurably.

How are your interpersonal skills? Are you approachable? Do you have command of your dances, games, and trivia? Are you personable, inclusive and comfortable working the room? Are you flexible to adapt the game or interactive element to your audience?

Ask a fellow entertainer or perhaps a recognized professional in one of the related fields, such as dance, to attend and critique a performance that offers plenty of interactive elements. While their criticism might skew toward their level of expertise, nuggets may be offered that will elevate your efforts.

57 Ways

If your steak is cooking, now you share the sizzle more effectively. But, according to Misner, the luster of a memorable performance may wear off unless the relationship is nurtured to keep the thought fresh in the testifier’s mind.

“Some people think that word-of-mouth is a little like the weather: fairly important, but not much they can do about it,” the expert writes. “Many others think that it’s just about good customer service, but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong-good customer service is critical for the success of any business-but if you expect happy customers to talk about you a lot, think again.”

So, what are some of the ways you can build upon the good taste of properly sizzling steak you’ve left with your clients? Here are a few flavors:

Leverage Existing Social Networks. Leveraging ideas presented by Andy Ebon and George Lopez at the recent Mobile Beat convention, entertainers need to be where clients are. Increasingly, that “place” is within online social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. Are you aware of what is going on in those communities? Do you have a presence there?

Another resource I’ve found useful is the marketing blog at www.doshdosh.com. There you’ll find several strategies for exploiting word-of-mouth marketing, applicable to your performance.

Target the Influencers. Using a technique formerly restricted to cutting-edge companies, now mainstream corporate America attempts to identify individuals who can persuade others to embrace certain habits or wear certain fashions. The “trendsetter marketing” concept provides key individuals with new products or access to new services in the hopes they will endorse and promote these products or services. These individuals typically have large social and professional spheres and possess great peer influence. Who are the trendsetters in your community who may influence the choice of entertainers?

Exclusivity and Scarcity. Websites or businesses often launch virally through a private beta approach by offering a limited number of site invites. If you are a sole operator, well, you only can be in one place at one time. How do you communicate the exclusivity of your service? How do you communicate the launch of a new or expanded service?

Tending Your Fields

Misner views word-of-mouth as more farming than hunting. “Building your business through word-of-mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in,” Misner writes. “It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know them that counts.”

Which returns us to performance-do you deliver from the initial phone call until the posting of the thank you card? Do you seek ways to enhance your entertainment skills to build confidence, offer clients more for their entertainment investment and keep your events fresh and flowing?

Dan Dubay of Dan Dubay Professional DJ Service, serving northern and central Oregon, succinctly offers the final word on growing your performance skills:

“Much like dropping a stone in calm water-with every performance we have the opportunity to showcase our skills to a sea of potential clients,” offers the longtime Oregon radio personality. “Even though everyone attending may not need your services now, someone they know may be searching for someone. In the end, whether you get referrals or not, by being on your game you’ve still demonstrated your professionalism and perhaps changed the perception of what we really do for our clients.”

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Mobile Beat Staff Writer (228 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


Filed Under: Business, Issues from 2009