Old fashioned is still in fashion

Before radio, television and the Internet, marketing began with the spoken word. Whatever you needed, your neighbor, family member or friend was likely to know someone who could provide it and, because they personally used those services, could vouch for the person providing the service.

At the heart of marketing, there are people with opinions on everything.

With all the clutter about whether to advertise on the Internet, do a Facebook post, create a business Instagram account or pay for a banner on a popular online publication, one thing remains true: when a single person likes a single product or service, he or she will talk about it to anyone who will listen.

For my birthday last summer, my friend Natalie gave me a Hydro Flask, a stainless steel bottle that can keep liquid cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. She loved hers and wanted to share. She bought me one in light orange (my favorite color), and in the heat of a Las Vegas summer, it was a godsend. I almost immediately purchased a 32-ounce navy blue one.

In August, I visited family in Chicago, and while sight-seeing around downtown, Shawna and David marveled at how cold the Hydro Flask kept water. They each bought two – a mint green and baby blue, if you’re keeping track – shortly thereafter. After a road trip with my friend Jessica, she bought a mint green one as well and recently purchased a purple one. My fiancé, Ken, even bought two 22-ounce bottles for us – one baby blue, one dark orange – from Columbia. My friend Mary even received a blue one as a Christmas present (I choose to lump that into this little study, too).

In a seven-month time frame, Natalie’s single gift has yielded eight additional Hydro Flasks. While $240-ish may not seem like much in the grand scale of Hydro Flask’s profits, I’m sure this Hydro Flask-loving group isn’t an island. There has to be more of us out there saying, “But the water stays so cold.” And the more islands, the better.

Word-of-mouth is a very real method of advertising. People’s opinions matter – for better or worse – and endorsements are important, even when they’re not high-powered athletes and celebrities who get paid for it. There is priceless validity in someone who loves your product and tells their friends and family about it. Technology is nice, but don’t forget to go back to the basics, and word-of-mouth is about as basic as it gets. What are your customers saying about you?

Tiffannie Bond likes to travel and enjoys it even more when she has a consistently cold or warm beverage by her side.

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