Does Word-of-Mouth Marketing Actually Work?
“The best advertising is word-of-mouth.” This cliché has been beaten into the ground again and again. Unfortunately, it’s often tossed into a conversation about marketing when people aren’t sure what to say or don’t want to look deeper. If a marketing plan works or doesn’t, it isn’t good enough to just shrug, say “oh well”, and chalk it up to people not talking to their friends. Why settle for a cliché (however true) when you could look deeper at how people talk and where they talk and what causes them to talk. Never settle for some biz-speak cliché when you could find the root of the failure (or success) and use that information to improve your future efforts.
Word-of-Mouth or Word-of-Finger?
Picture yourself on the street, in a group of people that have little in common other than their current location. How many of them are talking, chatting, and meeting new people? Not many. Most are on their phones, texting, tweeting, posting, liking, sharing, commenting, connecting, following, pinning, snapping, reading, playing, downloading, and watching. Rarely will they even acknowledge those around them. As for eye contact? Good luck with that. Even in a situation where people know and like each other, the smartphone is just as likely to be the center of attention as are the good friends around them. Whether this is good, bad, or sad, it is the reality we live in. So is word-of-mouth effective?
Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Yes, the reason word-of-mouth marketing has become such a cliché is that it is effective. But there are very important reasons for this. People are getting a little tired of being sold too. They are certainly tired of disappointing service or products and getting the run around from companies when they express their disappointment. They are looking for someone who seems objective and has more experience or knowledge than them. That person might be someone who left a Yelp review of a restaurant they went too. The point is, word of mouth works because people are getting information from a source they feel is trustworthy.
The New Word-of-Mouth Marketing
So in theory, word-of-mouth works, but like I mentioned earlier, people are talking on their phones and on social media. So the key is, get the conversation going where people are talking. Where are they talking?
- On my Facebook newsfeed right now the second post is a friend sharing an article about a new Starbucks location coming near her.
- The very first tweet on my feed is a friend talking about the Spartan race she just signed up for.
- On Instagram, two posts are of fitness trainers I follow are working out at their favorite gym.
Not of these people purposed in their minds to advertise for the respective companies. They simply shared their life with their friends —what they were doing, what they were excited about, or where they were. Social media is the new word of mouth marketing. This is where people go to talk about the clothes they bought, the restaurant they are eating at, and the causes they care about.
Word of mouth marketing works, and unlike those who simply shrug and say “well what can we do to compete, no one is talking about us” you can do something. You can go to where the conversation is happening and you can insert yourself. If you need help learning how to do this, bring in someone with experience. Try contacting Vision Advertising for the best social media advice around.