Why you Should Never Neglect Word of Mouth Marketing
Category : Marketing
When you really think about it, word of mouth is probably the original form of marketing. The first time a caveman realized he could make a good living from selling extra animal skins, he probably asked his customers if they might be kind enough to recommend his skins to their cavefriends. The second caveman who got in on the animal skin game probably did the same.
Over the millennia, the tactics and the techniques may have changed (dramatically so since the advent of internet), but at the very core, word of mouth marketing remained almost touchingly identical. It all comes down to people hearing good things about a company from someone they believe and/or trust.
Why It Works
Before we start investigating why word of mouth marketing words, we might want to provide a few facts to actually prove that it does. For instance, Nielsen found out that 84% of consumers somewhat or completely trust recommendations from family, friends and colleagues. Moreover, in some other research, it was revealed that people trust recommendations by people who they don’t know. There are far more interesting facts and statistics here.
The very obvious and understandable reason why word of mouth marketing works is that it does not come from a company. Our consciousness has developed enough to understand (at least on a rational level) that the companies would say anything to get us to choose their product or service. We managed to get to that point, thankfully. When someone other tells us a product or service is a good one, however, we believe them. Especially if these are the people we know.
The most interesting thing is that word of mouth marketing works even when we do not know people who recommend something. We, for some reason, trust them that they are objective and that they are recommending something out of the kindness of their heart. And the vast majority of them might. Still, this is a gray area.
How it Has Changed
Word of mouth marketing changed immensely with the advent of internet and especially the social networks where ordinary people can say what they think about certain products and services. All of a sudden, you can get people’s opinion on pretty much anything. Even the largest ecommerce websites such as eBay or Amazon prominently feature consumer’s comments and ratings.
Of course, this has led to an entire industry of brand ambassadors, i.e. people who professionally spread the good word about a product or a service. It is very much the same thing as endorsing something, only the medium has changed. Still, one might consider this word of mouth marketing.
How You Can Benefit
If you are an owner of a company or a marketer who wishes to tap in on the word of mouth marketing game, there are a few things that you can do. First of all, you always need to take care of your most loyal customers. Show them that you appreciate them – both directly and indirectly. Just for an example, reward them with gift cards for Christmas, which are loaded with a symbolic (or less symbolic) amount of money they can spend however they like when their business with you hits a milestone.
Furthermore, always pay attention to what people are saying about you, both offline and online. This is very easy to do online these days. If you find out that people are badmouthing you, investigate why this is the case. Sometimes you can unearth some truly important things about your company this way. Being forward about your commitment to certain social, environmental and other causes might also cause people to start recommending your company to their friends and family.
It is all about painting a certain picture of your company in public and also, of course, providing a great product or service.
That is the kind of thing that gets the word of mouth going naturally.