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What We Can Learn From Pandora Radio About Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is a mystery.  How do you get people to spread the word about your company to their friends so you can grow your business?

There is no magic mix of message and method that will guarantee that your customers spread the word about their positive experiences.  It can be helpful however, to look to the companies who have shown impressive growth while relying primarily on word of mouth to build their business.  Pandora Media is one of those companies.

In a recent episode of AMATV from the American Marketing Association, Pandora Media was highlighted for its success at building a 100M+ user base almost entirely through word of mouth marketing.  In order to become the largest streaming internet radio provider in the U.S., the Pandora Media company looked to their music loving customers as the primary source of advertising and new user acquisition.  The combination of product, service, and operations Pandora uses to attract new customers and to retain existing customers offers some insight into what it takes to build a word of mouth brand.

1.       Give Them What They Want

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Building off their patented Music Genome Project, Pandora allows users to create their own radio station with little more than a mouse click or two and then stream this personalized collection of songs through a browser, most smart phones, several stand alone devices, and even the stereo of their car.  In essence, Pandora is giving people what they want, when and where they want it!  And to top it off, it’s free!  It’s almost like winning the lottery, when you didn’t have to buy a ticket!  And because it’s so exciting, and such a great deal, people want to tell all of their friends so they can get it too.

2.       Use Personalized Email Marketing Sparingly

Good word of mouth marketing isn’t just about the initial purchase of the product, it’s about keeping the customer happy after the product is sold.  This is especially true because people are more likely to complain about something they don’t like than to rave about something they do like.  One way Pandora works to keep its customer base happy is to focus all their communication with users on information that is relevant to that specific user and offers value.  By using email sparingly for marketing and product pushes and ensuring every touch point offers value to their customers, Pandora protects their relationships and maintains their customer’s goodwill.

3.       Keep it Simple

Another reason for Pandora’s success in building their customer base is the simplicity of both their product and their customer experience.  The ability to offer an extremely personalized service that is simple to use is one of their key selling points.  Another is the ease with which someone can explain what Pandora is to another person.  Customers are more likely to invite their friends and families to use a product if they don’t have to wonder or worry if that person will be able to find it, figure it out, and use it.  By maintaining a product that is easy to use and easy to explain, Pandora set the stage for customer’s to make their message viral.

4.       Focus on What Customers Want Most

Pandora’s customers are all about the music.  From the initial creation of the Music Genome Project to their marketing plan to their customer service and communication strategies, everything is about the music.  This focus helps keeps their message clear and concise and keeps their music-loving customers content and coming back for more.  By staying focused on what it was about them that drew their customer base to them in the first place, Pandora ensures that customers will keep spreading the word and converting new customers to their brand.

Question:  How do you create word of mouth marketing for your business?

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Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com.  She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and Newsday. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and three very hungry teenage sons.  One of her goals in life is to visit all of the Major League ballparks in the US before she turns 49.  So far she has been to 13.

About the Author: Wendy Kenney

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