“Evangelist Marketing,” as defined by WOMMA, involves “Cultivating evangelists, advocates, or volunteers who are encouraged to take a leadership role in actively spreading the word on your behalf.” Many WOM Marketers employ evangelism, notably Ben McConnell and Jackie Hubba of the Church of the Customer.
While these approaches have been effective, they all focus on the consumer. Yes, it is remarkable when someone cares enough about your product or service enough to want to become an evangelist for you, but can’t the people who make the product or service be evangelists? Isn’t someone loving what they do and make and really believing in it just as remarkable?
A few weeks ago I met Tim Fish, creator of the gay romance comic Cavalcade of Boys, at Comicopia, He was there signing some of his work, and even had advanced copies of some stuff. Even though it was torrentially raining outside, there was still a decent turnout, but I still got to talk to Fish for a little bit. I asked him about how he broke into comics, and told me that he had to publish his own stuff, working really hard on both creative and marketing levels, so that he would have to show the big companies like Marvel. He’s been self-publishing for years, not only writing, drawing, and lettering all his comics, but also dealing with distributors. He did all of this while working a day job to support himself. Fish obviously had a great enthusiasm and love for his work and medium, and was willing to sketch in each of the comics from the huge pile I brought. He even did sketches for another guy of characters that he has no affiliation with. Several customers came into the store while I was there, and ended up leaving with copies of Fish’s comics, even though they had never heard of him before.
I think he is a perfect example of Self-Evangelical marketing. He goes to conventions and comic stores and gets his name out there. For years, WOM was the only marketing he had, exposing fans to his product, and they would in turn expose their friends. Since he is so indie, he has credibility that creators linked to the large publishers lack. And just talking to him, it is obvious he loves what he does. Like other customers in the store, if I had gone in not knowing who he was, after talking to him, there is no way I could have walked out of there without buying his work.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication