Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 11, 2007 3:34 PM

Rajawongse Tailor Or www.Dress-For-Success.com And A Lesson In Word Of Mouth Marketing

On July 28th, I had a Blog posting titled, Twist Image Viral Marketing Strategy - Guaranteed Success Or Your Money Back, that caused some conversation and ignited additional personal insights into what, exactly, word of mouth marketing truly is: how it works and how it spreads.

This past week, in Bangkok, Thailand, I saw Word Of Mouth Marketing live in action. If you've ever been to Bangkok, odds are you've been told that you must get clothes made for yourself there. On every street is a tailor shop offering custom made clothing. Based on the Thai dollar in comparison to the Canadian dollar, it really is a no-brainer, but in a city of nine million-plus people, how do you know who to trust and what level of quality you're getting?

I did what anybody would do: I asked around. What does it tell you when three people (who are not connected) recommended the same tailor and, that same tailor was also highlighted in a recent presentation that I read about because of their easy-to-remember domain name: www.Dress-For-Success.com?

Without even double-checking references, one of my first stops in Bangkok was to get measured for some (all black) clothing at Rajawongse Clothier (more easily found at www.Dress-For-Success.com). When I told Victor Rajawongse how I had heard about his business, he smiled and said, "everything we do is based on word on mouth_ it's my entire business_ for the past forty years." And that's when it hit me: Word Of Mouth Marketing is not one of the marketing channels. It's the first one. If people aren't talking about you in a positive way - offline, online or otherwise - no advertising in the world can save you. Victor (and his Father, Jesse) made me feel confident about my choice in tailors before even touching a piece of fabric or having a single measurement taken.

As the experience unfolded I told Victor what I do for a living. He asked if I had checked out his website (I had) and then started in on an issue he had after a recent redesign and loss of Google PageRank. When I asked him how his online business has changed what he does for a living, he simply smiled and said that he probably didn't even need the store front anymore because he's producing, at least, one hundred and fifty custom dress shirts from the website business alone per day. Even without a crazy-slick website, the positive word of mouth about Rajawongse's clothing is driving the online business as well.

They're leveraging the power of international PR (the family has an impressive client list that includes Presidents, heads of state and leading business people), the online channel and in-store service to create the full experience of custom made clothes.

So what makes Word Of Mouth happen? An experience like the one I had in Bangkok with Victor and Jesse at Rajawongse Clothier: a seamless (pardon the bad tailor pun) experience that I'm now proud to share with you (especially if you're in the market for clothing) because they'll treat you right and the experience will be as good as mine was. It's the consumer's personal pride is sharing without financial gain, but with full knowledge that if you're as satisfied with your experience as they were, that you will, in some way, shape or form, think more highly of them. And, on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, that ranks very close to the top.

So even for a Digital Marketing person who's more impressed with Blackberry than Burberry, Word of Mouth Marketing can even take shape when we're talking about fashion and not flickr.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Word of mouth is indeed the first marketing method. Think back 1,000 years - you had the community marketplace, and sure, you had barkers and such to advertise, but that only gets a customer the first time. Word of mouth keeps them coming back to the stall that has meat with the fewest maggots on it. Heck, word of mouth is nothing more than storytelling, and we've been doing that since we figured out how to make fire and sit around it.

    Fast forward thousands of years to 2007, and we're still sitting around campfires telling stories - these days, they're called blogs, podcasts, forums, etc. and the only fire is the light of the monitor, but it's still the same social mechanism.

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel

    What I found most interesting as I was developing this post was that it wasn't the story of the next Subservient Chicken. It wasn't digital at all. The digital aspect of Rajawongse only further helped spread the good story.

    Which makes what you're saying Chris spot on... if there's no story... there's no story - regardless of the access to more and more people because of technology.

    I love having huge Digital Marketing insights that evolve from something so basic and primal.

    Long, long ago, people would gather around fires in caves and tell each other stories. The best stories stuck (maybe even some got carvings on the walls).

    It goes to show you that as everything changes... nothing changes.

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve
    Mitch Joel

    Rather destroys the word-of mouth/ power of the internet story when the website isn't available anymore (checked on 30 July 2008).

    Reply
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