There is nothing more ‘sticky’ or powerful as a trusted opinion.
Think about it.
You need a new mattress, right?
You do the research but get super confused by all the different types of mattresses out there, and all the conflicting reviews associated with each brand you look into.
So, what do you do?
You go to your social network.
You post a question on Facebook. You text family and friends.
Most likely, you will make your decision based on the answers you receive. The mattress with the most thumbs up from your trusted network is the one you end up purchasing.
That. Is Word Of Mouth Marketing.
But, What Is Word Of Mouth Marketing?
Ok, so you want the actual definition of Word of Mouth Marketing? Fine.
According to our non-biased source, Business Dictionary: Word of mouth marketing is “an oral or written recommendation by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service. Considered to be the most effective form of promotion, it is called word of mouth advertising, which is incorrect because, by definition, advertising is a paid and non-personal communication.”
In other words, if someone likes your product or service, they’re going to tell friends who will tell friends and so on.
Consider this Fabrege Organics Shampoo commercial from the early 1980s starring Heather Locklear.
That, right there, is exactly what Word of Mouth marketing means. You try and love (or hate) a product and tell a friend, who tells their friends, and so on and so on and so on.
In effect, depending on how far-reaching a consumer’s network goes, they have the possibility of making or breaking the success of your product or service.
The Effectiveness of Word Of Mouth And Consumer Behavior
Research shows word of mouth marketing is the most powerful tool. Especially when it’s working in your favor.
The mattress scenario from earlier in this article illustrates how word of mouth operates. Telling a friend, and so on. But, why does that work so well?
Because we trust our friends. And, due to the fact that we know our friends aren’t going to steer us wrong, we are more likely to base purchase decisions on their recommendations.
The positives of WOMM:
- You don’t have to spend a penny, your consumers are doing the marketing for you
- A community grows around your product or service
- Brand loyalty expands exponentially
- Built-in trust value
To truly understand word of mouth marketing, you need to understand the psychology behind it: Decisions are motivated by the people around us.
Picking a mattress, where to go to dinner, and even what to order from the menu, all actions are based on choices and recommendations from others. Sort of a herd mentality, or as it’s called on social platforms, Sheeple. A herd of sheep-people, helping to inform or sway opinion.
Are There Disadvantages To Word Of Mouth Marketing?
Like the yin to the yang, there is negative in all positive.
Negative words spread just as rapidly, if not more so, than the positive. One bad experience from the right person can cause a major brand crisis.
It can take time and concerted effort to combat the loss of sales and damaged reputation if word of mouth goes awry.
The good news is, even though the internet makes messages immortal, you can make a comeback from problems associated with the negative word of mouth issue.
- Find the original source of the negative review
- Contact the person and take the complaints offline. Redirect the messaging to email or through direct messaging.
- Learn about the problem
- Work with the customer to make it right
Through compassion and customer service, it’s possible to gain the person back as a customer and brand ambassador.
Keep in mind, there isn’t always going to be a happy ending. But, try for a ‘happy for now’ finale.
Creating A WOMM Strategy
The competition is fierce for pretty much any given product or service. Even though WOMM can result in about 5Xs more sales, only about 33% of businesses try to amplify their message through a WOMM campaign.
If you know that 90% of all consumers make a purchase decision based on trust, then doesn’t it make sense to earn the trust of more consumers?
- Encourage and empower your employees to talk about you in their network
- Generate an emotional response through powerful storytelling
- Always be a part of the conversations
- Have a referral rewards program or an affiliate program
- Create an influencer marketing campaign
- Encourage user-generated content
- Highlight positive reviews
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews
Whether you’re looking to establish your product or service, expand your reach, build your brand awareness, or any other motive, having a word of mouth marketing campaign is your most effective tool.
And, since so many of your competitors aren’t engaging in this practice, you’ll have the edge. Grab that opportunity and start spreading the word!