Understanding the principle of Word of Mouth Marketing

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16-08-2014

How relying a little more on your clients to carry out your advertising campaigns can help your business. Learn more about word of mouth marketing.

In 2012, Nielsen, the American consumer and media insight company publishedsome interesting results about a word of mouth marketing study.

92% of the consumers who took part in the study admitted that they trusted word of mouth and recommendations from family and friends much more than any other type of publicity. The study also shows that the public’s trust in TV spots and paid advertising decreases by 20% every year.

These numbers highlight key marketing features that could help you get closer to and better connected with your customers and desired customers.


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Commercial Advertisings VS Word of Mouth


Statistics show that individuals rely much more on word of mouth than on commercial ads. This is mainly explained by the fact that a friend or relative’s motivation to share information, positive opinion or point of view is not motivated by any kind of reward: no payment, no income, no sponsor for this effort.

Consciously or subconsciously, consumers perceive underlying business motives to a degree and soon become wary of speeches from sellers, TV and radio adverts… They increasingly end up thinking that multinationals and SMEs would be ready to tell them pretty much anything in order to convince them to buy their products or services and later receive a bonus, not necessarily having the real consumer’s interest in mind. They will be warier and will take the time to evaluate the offer, prone and ready to reject it from the onset, relying on their critical judgment.

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On the other hand, these barriers tend to disappear when it comes to friends and relatives. Usually, they will share something they will have tried and found interesting. The one receiving the information will feel comfortable enough to ask questions about the products or services, without feeling pressured to purchase anything. He or she will be more prepared to listen and to consider the recommendations made by their connections.
Once again we are presented with a “marketer-client” or rather “close relation/marketer – client” configuration. The table below shows the advantages of close relations for marketers.

 

Business/Marketer – Client Close Relation/Marketer – Client
  • Need to attract and convince the client to listen.
  • Need to develop a relationship with the client (fidelity card, marketing approach techniques…).
  • Need to get the client to be interested.
  • Marketer less credible:
  • Talk about competitors and his/her professional or personal  experience, but client will be wary of those comments.   
  • The client is predisposed to listen.
  • Pre-established connection, client has known the marketer for some time.
  • Seller knows just what the client is interested in.
  • The seller is very credible: he/she talks about personal experience and bears witness of what was tested. Client knows marketer well and trusts/knows intrinsically that what is being said is true. Client will more readily accept the information.



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Word of mouth marketing therefore applies from the moment a company decides to rely on conversations from mothers picking their children up from school, on comments from colleagues in the workplace or exchanges between friends in high school and universities. This type of marketing is all the more possible and viable thanks to social media platforms. Thus, conversations are carried on beyond the schools and workplaces, they are intensified and the influence each of them has, is considerably increased by the greater number of people they can reach at once.

Why should you consider running a word of mouth campaign?

  • Its costs are relatively low
  • The people are truly likely to show interest in what you have to offer and will be directly targeted by their close relations who already know they will appreciate the information.
  • An organic positive reputation, therefore strong reputation, can be built amongst your existing and potential clients.

 

Meanwhile, it is important to also consider a couple of negative points before getting started:

  • Measuring the success of such a campaign is quite difficult.
  • A disgruntled client sharing a negative experience on social media can spread very fast and be detrimental to the campaign.

 



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In word of mouth marketing, it is important to remain close to people’s natural behaviors. People will not share what they don’t find interesting or things that do not speak to them. Consequently, the accurate targeting of your potential clients is very critical.
Think about the social media networks which would work best for your company. Facebook and Twitter are the preeminent platforms, but you might find LinkedIn to be more advantageous if  you own a B2B company.

Make certain you know:

  1. Who is likely to share your content.
  2. Which sites they visit when they go online.
  3. What would be the best and most effective way or medium for sending your message out (video, infographic, article…etc.).
  4. Why would people choose to share your content.
  5. When would your content be shared.

Jonah Berger, Marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania, coined a theory around 6 principles of marketing that would help a campaign to become viral:


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He identified these 6 principles as motivators which would entice people to share certain content. Your campaign may not need to cover them all, but the more you have, the better. You will find further information about Jonah Berger’s theory here.

A few examples

Superdry is a British brand which launched in 2004 with key characteristics like its name as the logo, using Japanese symbols, and having precisely no less that 3 zips at the front. Their marketing and advertising tactics are just as distinctive. From the very beginning, they refused to follow the traditional advertising path and chose to rely mostly on word of mouth. Thanks to their unique style, the brand soon became famous and in less than 10 years, they passed from a SME status to that of a multinational business with a presence in 46 countries.

Another example is that of the German mouse character Diddl. You will find it on stationary and other by products. Nonetheless, there is no cartoon, no ad, no comic of the friendly mouse. It is by relying on the abundance of by products and by producing limited editions of their merchandise that the little mouse led its company to success in schools: children love collecting things, they want to gather as many Diddl printed objects as they can. Diddl’s creators understood this well and ensured to give them, just that.

Now then,  it is your turn to give it a go!

If you are ready, find out more about Word of Mouth and why traditional advertisement no longer works.

Ccj.

 

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Ccj.
Ccj is a digital marketing professional in the UK. She comes from a communications background and worked in political communication, multilingual settings and applied her experience to public relations and marketing strategies for various companies.

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