Monday, May 4, 2009

Ever Played Telephone?

Have you ever played Telephone? You know, the game where one would whisper a word or a phrase into their friend’s ear, “Sarah’s sister wears a red bow?” Then, the friend would whisper the same phrase into the next person’s ear – and so on… At the end, the last person to receive the secret would blurt out what they thought they had heard, “Sarah’s sister has a red nose.” More often than not, what was blurted was nothing like what had been whispered in the beginning; and, that’s what made the game fun!

There is a game played in marketing today that is similar to Telephone . The game is called Word of Mouth. Unlike Telephone, we want the message to stay intact as it spreads from one person to another. And we want it to spread as far as it can reach. Played well, Word of Mouth can generate a sea change of events for a product or a brand – or a book. Measuring Word of Mouth is a little tricky. Truthfully, I am not sure that anyone has cracked this code – not even those of us in market research.

That said, when we launched our word of mouth campaign for The Angry Thunderstorm, we decided that the best mechanism to measure the return was through book reviews. We have received several reviews; but, until this week, all of them were from our friends. [Friend Disclaimer: This statement is in no way intended to diminish the appreciation we have for our friends, their acts of unselfish kindness, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of the reviews they have provided.]

Truth is, we hoped our friends would be as helpful and encouraging as they have been; and, we appreciate them. However, the true valuation would come in the form of unbiased responses received from those we do not know who have purchased the book in good faith based upon what they have heard. For three weeks, we waited. This week, our answer came in the form of three reviews from people we did not know.

“The Angry Thunderstorm is a book that will lead a child towards understanding a part of nature. A great way to dispel fears about thunderstorms. Writing in the poem format is especially suited for this book. A novel idea for a children’s book. I hope this author continues with this idea and produces more books about nature's happenings.” – C. Oldham

“This was a great book - my 2 year old was entranced by the story and pictures. Some of the vocabulary was too advanced for her, but this is definitely a book that can grow with her.” – M. DiGiovanni

”This book was very enjoyable - kids loved it! The excellent vocabulary and pleasing rhymes along with the delightful, detailed illustrations captivated everyone! It also gave us a chance for some discussions about Mother Nature and helped calm some nervousness about thunderstorms.” – L.V. Patrick

Whew! We can now rest easy and assured that our efforts are paying off. To: C. Oldham, M. DiGiovanni and L.V. Patrick (whoever and where ever you are), Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions about The Angry Thunderstorm!

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