What is the cheapest and most effective form of advertising for your business?  Many will say “Word of Mouth” (WOM).

Is it really the cheapest though?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the cost of building a business, product, service or brand that is worth talking about and, on whole, I don’t know if it’s really the cheapest…
Why?  Because it costs a great deal to 
…be noteworthy
…create raving fans (not just customers)
…give outstanding service
…create a smashable brand.
The expense may not be seen to be monetary to start with.  By that I mean, the expense may be 
…a great deal of time in creating the concept, business model, product or service.
…a lot of energy spent being extra nice to customers so that they tell their friends
…going into partnership with people who stress you out
…writing a blog or newsletter to lift your profile 😉
But don’t time, energy, relationships and self promotion, when retained and maintained in the long-run, tend to cost you money?  
Or they cost you your marriage… which costs you money.
Or they cost you time with your kids and friends… which often results in spending money compensating for the lack of attention you gave them. Which costs you money.
Or the stress of being extra nice to rude ‘you-deserve-to-be-slapped’ customers results in burn-out which also costs you money.
So think carefully about where you are spending your resources in order to increase your Word of Mouth marketshare.  Without a doubt, it’s the most effective form of advertising, I’m the first to admit that when I talk to customers about the advertising medium I offer.
But if you tell me word of mouth marketing is the cheapest – I’m afraid I won’t always agree.