The third and final day of the WOMMnext Conference in Chicago kicked off yesterday at 7:30 with a giant, recuperative breakfast spread, courtesy of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) who hosted the conference. If you missed the highlights from Day 2, please read our WOMMnext Day 2 blog.

At 8:30, people filed into the Grand Ballroom of the InterContinental Chicago for a general session panel called “WOM as a Management Philosophy.” It featured 3 keynote speakers: Christine Morrison from Intuit, Charlie Hinton from AT&T, and Jim Kolsky from E & J Gallo Winery. As some shrewdly pointed out, what seemed like an eclectic mixture of speakers had one core truth in common. All three industries rely heavily on WOMM.

 

 

We learned that strong advocates for word of mouth marketing establish themselves by focusing all their attention on customer service, in hopes that excellent customer relationships will evolve into serious word of mouth transmission.

 

 

We also developed a new understanding of social media marketing, straight from the source, a mobile company:

 

 

According to Hinton, we should think of social media and mobile media as one in the same.
After a brief recess, the WOMMnext breakout portion began again. This batch of four talks included creative content for cutting edge legal topics, activating brand advocates in emerging technologies, content for finance marketers, and a meditation on brands and word of mouth.

A valuable lesson for financial marketers that can really carry over to any marketer: if you jump on an emerging platform first, you position yourself as most important in that space. That’s what Kristie Helms did for State Street with Vine.

 

From the legal panel, a very interesting question:

 

There is no line between social media posts and advertising. Legally, any time a brand posts anything to social media, it’s considered advertising; so let’s think carefully before that next Tweet, huh guys?

 

 

The last official event at WOMMnext was an up-close-and-personal talk from Emanuel Rosen, author of Absolute Value- What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information.

Rosen’s core philosophy is that brand doesn’t matter nearly as much as opinion. What’s the difference, you might ask? Brand is what we say to consumers; opinion is what consumers say to us. The advent of social media has shifted the direction this information flows. Companies should be making brand decisions based on what the public is saying, rather than telling the public what to say.

 

 

Naturally, there’s a lot more that Emanuel Rosen has to say, but in order to hear it, of course, you have to buy his book. Wink. Wink.

And that was it! We hope everybody left with a lot to talk about, or a lot of words in a lot of mouths, so to speak. WOMM may contain the secrets of marketing’s future. The only way we’ll know is if we continue to listen to what people are saying. We may get lucky. They may be talking about us. For now, it’s naptime.

What does WOMM mean to you? Tell us about it below!

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