Word of Mouth Marketing is as Relevant as Ever

On February 26, 2016, Posted by , In Small Business Marketing, With 2 Comments

Last week, we discussed how one brand, Elo, won big by taking advantage of an unusual opportunity when one of their monitors was prominently featured in a Dorito’s “Crash the Super Bowl” ad that wound up being a contest finalist and actually appeared during the Super Bowl. Kudos again to their team for jumping into action!

This week we’ll discuss the first of three tactics that Elo used to maximize their opportunity: word of mouth.

Way back in 1966, Ernest Dichter, an Austrian-American psychologist published an article titled “How Word of Mouth Advertising Works.” This article explained that consumers reject most advertising because they are more of a sales tool than “information and guidance.” If consumers perceived the brand as a friend, they would find the brand more authentic and trustworthy. Sound familiar?

Word of mouth marketing (womm) is nothing new, but it has changed over time. Conversations still take place at work, at school, over coffee, or on the phone just like in Dichter’s time, but they also take place on social media, email, review sites and online forums.

Word of Mouth Success Stories

Zappos does so much right when it comes to marketing, and word of mouth is an area where they continue to excel. Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, intentionally budgeted for outstanding customer service because they expected that great customer service would help drive word of mouth sales. With over $2 billion in annual sales, obviously they were right.

From the beginning, Starbucks avoided traditional forms of advertising, and relied heavily on word of mouth. Starbucks is now a 1.4 billion dollar company. Awesome customer service and a dedication to building their online community helped Starbucks become the success they are today.

The Critical Components Of Word of Mouth Marketing

Let’s take a closer look at word of mouth marketing. Ted Wright (author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth) describes word of mouth marketing as “identifying your influencers and coming up with a story that is interesting, relevant and authentic that ladders back to qualities of your brand and then sharing that story as much as possible.”

Influencers and Brand Advocates

Ultimately, you are looking for brand advocates, influencers, and consumers to share your brand message. Before you craft a WOM strategy ask yourself:

  1. Who are your influencers?
  2. How can you create a compelling narrative that your influencers will connect with?

The key to great word of mouth campaigns is to connect the right narrative with the right audience. This is how you get people talking.

Start Listening

One key component to a successful word of mouth campaign is “social listening.” This can be as simple as checking the comments on your Facebook page or as complex as using tools like Google Alerts or SocialMention. Regardless of how you do it, it’s vital to know what people are saying about your business.

Craft Your Narrative

To be truly effective, everyone inside your organization has to be in alignment in terms of how you want to be recommended. Once you have that clarity, everything you do will be focused on making sure you are delivering in a way that makes those recommendations a reality.

You should be able to craft a compelling narrative from the information you have learned from social listening. These are some key questions to ask while crafting your narrative:

  • What messages about your brand do you want your consumers to share with one another?
  • What makes your brand unique in the marketplace?
  • What do you have that your competitors don’t?
  • Why are consumers recommending you? What are the most positive, useful, and special things about your brand?
  • What is your competitors’ messaging? What are they saying about you, if anything?

Dichter’s advice to humanize the brand to connect better with people wasn’t psychobabble. It was indispensable marketing advice then, today, and tomorrow. Word of mouth (whether traditional or digital) is just as effective today as it was in 1966, so don’t neglect it when you are planning your marketing strategy.

Join us next week to discuss how to launch a successful email marketing campaign.

2 Comments so far:

  1. […] a zero-budget marketing campaign, we’ve already explained how to get the ball rolling with word of mouth marketing. Now we will discuss how to create a newsletter that your clients and prospects will love to read. […]

  2. […] “forward” button, recipients can share your emails with others, which acts as digital “word-of-mouth” marketing. If a recipient enjoys reading your email, he or she may send it to a friend or family member. And […]

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