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Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World by Gail F. Goodman

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Introduction

I’m an amateur chef (emphasis on “amateur”), and my husband and I enjoy entertaining and having people over to our home. I had needed to replace my knives for some time, so I went to Kitchen Outfitters, a local kitchen store, to see what was available. A little overwhelmed at the selection of knives and brands, I asked the shop owner a few questions. She took the time to explain the difference between German and Japanese knives and even pulled out a chopping board and proceeded to let me try the different knives by cutting up carrots. Sold! I ended up buying six well-made knives. Each time I have guests over and we are cooking together, I tell them about my knives and how wonderfully sharp they are, which leads me to tell them the story of my great experience with Kitchen Outfitters.

What’s key here is that I’ve shared my experience (multiple times!) via word of mouth. Word-of-mouth referrals aren’t new, of course. We’ve always relied on our friends, family, and coworkers for referrals. Maybe the trees in your yard need pruning or you need a new roof, so you ask your neighbors or coworkers which companies they’ve used in the past. Or it’s your 10-year wedding anniversary, and you really want to wow your spouse, so you ask around for recommendations to some of the better restaurants in your area. Word of mouth has always worked, and it still works.

What’s changed, however, is how we solicit these referrals. We still ask our friends, family, and coworkers for their ...

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