If you think about all the marketing channels could you identify one that is most valuable?
One that is has a powerful way to influence business results?
One that is most likely to drive sales for your company?
For many of us, maybe everyone, this is word of mouth marketing (WOMM).
Are you surprised?
You shouldn’t be! According to Neilson, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. So why is WOMM so important?
1. Compliments Social
As marketers, we spend a lot of time on social media. Creating content, scheduling it, posting, creating events and Pages, and targeting audiences for ads. We do this because we know this is where our audience is spending their time, and we want to be where they are. But with the ever-changing algorithms for social platforms, these social sites are making it harder and harder for brands to show up organically on their audiences’ Feeds and it doesn’t seem like marketers have any other choice but to spend more money!
But what if we took a pause on creating our social identities and took the time to connect on social?
If you take a look at social app trends, whether it’s Snapchat, Messenger or even dating apps, social is becoming more one-to-one. Influencing through narrowcasting platforms may be the way of the future for marketing, and with it becoming harder to be seen (and heard) by the masses this might be a trend worth focusing on.
Instead of worrying about how many followers and how much engagement your brand has on social start to look at the followers who are talking about you organically and who are regularly engaging with you. These are the people who are going to take part in WOMM by talking about your brand and product on their own. Whether it’s by mentioning you in a Tweet, sharing a picture or even liking all of your brand’s content. These individuals are worth noticing because they have the capability to influence their network- a network you may not have access to. WOMM doesn’t mean giving up digital marketing efforts, it means blending the two! Start looking for the people who are already participating in WOMM for your brand and reward them for doing it even it means commenting back, using one of their images or surprising them with a gift. A little bit goes a long way for both of you!
I believe, more than ever that trust is fragile, and if brands want to prosper in this state, they are going to have to change the tools they use and the messages they put out through marketing. Instead of viewing ROI as the most important marketing metric brands are going to need to value their credibility, more importantly, understand how credible their consumers think they are.
If your audience doesn’t trust your brand, it won’t matter what or how you market to them. Once your trust is lost no marketing technique can get you out of that hole, so it’s a quality brand need to treasure, brag about and protect a little bit more.
No matter what form of an ad a brand runs, it’s only going to say something good about their product. They aren’t going to mention the ifs, ands or buts when it comes to using it. However, your friends and family are going to give their honest opinion- the good, the bad and the ugly. So it’s no surprise that we trust our friends and family more than we trust an ad! But before you let this scare you away from WOMM- you don’t want a potential customer to know everything! We also know it’s because that audience knows they have gotten an honest review from a trusted source that they are more likely to trust their recommendations and believe in those results.
As marketers, you need to engage those passionate brand advocates to amplify your message and help build that trust. When you do that successfully, you are going to become a more transparent and honest brand. When you master WOMM you will have something more powerful than a positive ROI, you will have a credible reputation.
Finding your audience is one of your toughest tasks as a marketer. And once you figure out who your audience is, targeting them doesn’t get that much easier when there are billions of people watching TV, logging into Facebook and running searches on Google. You may know who your potential audience is but how are you making sure they are the ones hearing your message?
This is why you are wasting a big chunk of your marketing dollars- you are reaching too many of the wrong people! But this is also where WOMM can help you become more focused. Think about the last conversation you had with a friend. Most likely it revolved around shared interests, things that were relevant to both of you. If neither of you plays golf, you aren’t going to talk about the best golf clubs, courses, or tournaments to watch. Which can totally happen when marketing in just about every which way, we see a lot of ads that have nothing to do with our interests. However, if you both just had a baby, then you are going to talk about this great product and where you can buy it. People only tell you about things that somewhat relate to your life. This is why WOMM is so important! People who are already using and loving your product are going to tell other like-minded people to buy it and use it too! This is the best-targeted ad you can ask for! It puts them a lot further down the sales funnel than if they had seen an AD or read a piece of content on your website.
Wrap It Up
Are you ready to sit back and hope conversations just happen organically about your brand?
Well, that’s not exactly how WOMM works! Next week we are going to explore three areas marketers need to focus on in order to run successful WOM campaigns. If you can master these three things, then you will have the capability to become the most talked about and maybe even the most beloved product in your industry!