Lindy has asked me to contribute a story about the impact of word-of-mouth marketing. So, here goes.
Back in the dark ages of the Web I was working for the Employee Relocation Council in the research department. ERC launched one of the earliest association web sites and I was listed as the contact for research information, including international relocation.
The day the site went up (probably in 1995, maybe 1994), I started receiving e-mail from people all around the world with questions about how to get a visa to come to the United States. This was way before e-mail scams were that common, they were genuine people looking for help. I was blown away and knew this was something new and special. I have no idea how people found this page on the web with my e-mail but they did. Search was next to useless or non-existent then, if you can imagine. ASAE used to maintain a single page that listed all the association web sites online, to give you an idea of how sparse the web world was back then.
All of these folks found me somehow through links and clicking and sharing information with others back when you had to get through some pretty significant hoops to be online.
That’s word of mouth powered by strong needs and desire.