What is word of mouth marketing and how to make it work for you

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‘What is word of mouth marketing and how do I make it work for me?’ is a question that we hear time and again.

When we considered the problem that almost everyone we spoke to has with word of mouth, or ‘WoM’, it’s that they know it’s the most effective form of marketing. It’s just that the majority of people think that word of mouth ‘just happens’ and that there is nothing they can do about it. They don’t realize that there’s a method behind it. Word of mouth marketing, or ‘WoMM’, is a system or method.  Just like any other form of marketing and can be very effective.

Here’s a recent example.  A business friend who coaches leaders has begun to volunteer to help an organisation support ex-servicemen, or veterans.  Because the value that he gave to both the organisation and their members, they began talking about Brad to others, and recommending him.

This is a very good example of word of mouth marketing in action. We all want to go a little further and create advocates and start developing the notion of a campaign

So let’s think about Word of Mouth is.   WoM is where one or more of the following starts to happen

  • A brand, product or service works to create strong, authentic, relevant relationships with its advocates,
  • Who make the market aware of a brand, product or service, and
  • Who work to become a virtual sales force because they love your brand, product or service, and
  • Feel like they’re respected members of the team.

Think about last time you told someone close to you about something new or exciting that you’d discovered face to face?  I can remember my step-daughter telling her Mum about Facebook.  It was like she was the bearer of the most incredible information. So, I’d like to invite you to take a moment to recall the last time that you referred a product or service to someone.

  • Who was it?
  • How did you tell them?  
  • And what about a referral that you received?  
  • What was your response, and how did it make you feel?
  • How did the referrer tell you about the product or service?

The point is that WoM happens all the time. But what most people don’t realise is how you can get people to talk about your brand, products or services. It’s a method that you can learn.  A method that shows how you can amplify naturally occurring word of mouth.

Now, you can look at some of the world’s largest brands, and see them using WoMM.  Companies like BMW, Nivea, Nike, Lego, Unilever, we could go on. And while half of the Fortune 500 companies use Word of Mouth Marketing it’s not just for big companies with large budgets. 

WoM will work in almost any scenario.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a startup, a not-for-profit organisation, an established small or large business.  WoMM will work for you. Word of Mouth That Works explains how you can employ the science behind WoM in your own commercial environment.

Of course, it’ll give you sustainable competitive advantage, but isn’t that what knowledge is about? The fact is, that while word of mouth is the best form of marketing there is, most organisations don't invest in it.  The question is ‘why?’ We believe it’s because they naïvely believe that it only happens randomly -it doesn’t.

This is the first in a series of blogs about word of mouth marketing, where we’re going to cover the what, why, where, and when.

If you’d like to know the ‘how’, and to achieve that sustainable competitive advantage, then take a look at Word of Mouth That Works.

Word of Mouth That Works

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About the author

Alan Casey

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I'm a purpose-led, nomadic, entrepreneur.

I believe that purpose-led business can play a leading role in creating more inclusive communities.  And that being purpose-led leads to amazing word of mouth stories being told about your organisation.

I'm nomadic because I constantly move between the land of my birth, England, the land where I spent half of my life, NZ, and the land where a lot of my development work occurs, Vietnam.

And I'm an entrepreneur because I just can't work in organisations any more.  There are too many issues and problems that I know how to fix, but never have the authority to act on.  So now I spend my time understanding the problems that organisations, have, articulating them, and then creating the solutions.


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