Mongezi Mtati on How Wordstart Proved the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Mongezi Mtati on How Wordstart Proved the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing


Vital Stats

Mongezi Mtati launched the marketing campaign for his start-up, Wordstart, in a cheeky and unusual way. Together with a friend, Peter Peele, he stood on two busy intersections in Joburg and gave away suckers and Wordstart pamphlets in the hopes of securing tickets to an upcoming Ramstein concert.

It was a cheeky, irreverent move, but Mtati wanted to prove that word-of-mouth marketing has legs, provided you give people something to talk about, laugh about and share.

“We got a lot of attention with our marketing stunt. People were videoing us and posting the clips, the media noticed Wordstart, and in the end Ramstein actually heard about the stunt and invited us to the concert as their guests.”

The start-up had proven two key points: Word-of-mouth marketing works, and it pays to market your own brand.

Related: Defining your Market in 7 Steps

“We suddenly had two important case studies. One, we could show potential clients what we could do. We weren’t just pitching an idea; we were pitching a successful campaign.

“Two, we had proven to ourselves how important it is to market your own brand. A lot of businesses in this space forget that. They concentrate on their client’s brands, but they forget they need to also build their own brand.”

The team’s next stunt was to ramp jump off a building in Jozi. “We filmed the whole thing and uploaded it onto social media sites — again, the uptake was great, and gave us and the business excellent exposure.”

This idea of creating and building on entertaining content has led to a collaborative community called Social Jozi, which explores the outdoors of Gauteng.

“It’s a win-win, which builds on experiences, and we come out of it with useful content every month. It’s not a product or service; it’s simply a community that we treat as a client with other creative practitioners and it builds stories that people want to share.”

Making a start-up marketing splashMongezi-Mtati-of-Wordstart

  • Use the skills you have, think up something cool that you’d share with your friends and colleagues if you saw it, and just do it. You don’t need cash, just a bit of imagination.
  • Treat yourself as your number one client.
  • Understand that clients are looking for marketing ROI, so you need to show them how people respond to your campaigns, but they’re also people. Sway them with exciting, fresh campaigns.
  • Don’t punt your product. Create great, engaging content that includes your brand (or that of your client), and let your customers do the rest.
  • Understand the difference between talking at people, and building trust by sharing experiences and content with them.

Ask yourself

Are you your own number one client?

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.