Sometimes I meet with business owners who tell me their growth is all based on word of mouth—and that word of mouth is the source of most new business.

While positive word is a powerful form of marketing, it is not a sustainable marketing strategy for any business.

That’s because it’s not controllable. It’s not proactive. Word of mouth puts all of the power in other people’s hands.

We actually have no control over what others say to others about us and our business—or how much someone talks about our business. While sometimes it leads to prospects coming our way, word of mouth can also lead to people showing up with no idea of what we really do. Or never showing up at all.

Going back to basics, let’s recall that marketing is the ability to establish and maintain relevance in people’s lives before they’re ready, willing and able to buy what you sell. One of the early lessons we learn in marketing and public relations is to control the message. Tell your audience what it is we want them to say about us. Put words into people’s mouths. Don’t leave it to others to come up with their own words about you.

In other words, business owners should create messages and content and share ideas that can be traced back to them. Those messages and ideas should be shared on a regular basis. With repetition and consistency, people start understanding who you are, what you do and even begin to repeat the things you share. That’s the way to build a brand and recognition.

Those who depend on word of mouth don’t know to take this step. They don’t realize that word of mouth is arguably the most unpredictable element when it comes to winning business. Imagine if all any of us had to do to sell our services was wait for people to tell others about us. Marketing has and never will be that easy.

If you would like help finding the words to put in other’s mouths and learning about the avenues for sharing those messages, please contact us! We love helping businesses share their brand stories and create something significantly more predictable.

Jeanne partners with Best Version Media (BVM), one of the fastest-growing private publishing companies in North America, to produce East Fishkill Living, her hometown monthly magazine, and works with colleagues on a number of similar glossy publications around the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, Rockland County and Connecticut. If you have target audiences in those areas, contact Jeanne to learn more. Thanks to BVM for portions of this content.