What Is Word of Mouth Advertising?
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing) is when a consumer's interest in a company's product or service is reflected in their daily dialogues. Essentially, it is free advertising triggered by customer experiences—and usually, something that goes beyond what they expected. Word-of-mouth marketing can be encouraged through different publicity activities set up by companies, or by having opportunities to encourage consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications. Also referred to as "word-of-mouth advertising," WOM marketing includes buzz, viral, blog, emotional, and social media marketing.
To put it most simply, word of mouth marketers and advertisers seek to create something worth talking about and then actively encourage people to talk about it. Word of mouth advertising is essentially seeking to kickstart an exponential referral chain to boost brand presence.
Why Does WOM Work So Effectively?
Essentially, WOM comes down to trust. People trust what others have to say, especially from familiar people. When they hear about something from a friend, family member, or previous consumer, they tend to believe the brand is worthy and trustable.
Studies by marketing expert Jonah Berger have found two driving factors that power WOM marketing content. These factors are social currency and triggers.
Social currency is based on the idea of liking to feel special or exclusivity. Hearing about an underground club, secret menu item or cool place makes us feel the need to belong to an exclusive group.
Accordingly, an easy way to encourage word-of-mouth discussion is to provide insider secrets or proprietary information. Triggers are a natural social mechanism that reminds us about a brand or product even when we don’t see advertising.
Another reason why word of mouth marketing works is that:
Like user-generated content is voluntarily created and shared content daily by the creator. Word of mouth is the organic sharing of information or opinions about a product, company or brand, from one consumer to another.
One type of user-generated content is reviews that are very useful in marketing. Getting customers to write reviews is one way to facilitate word-of-mouth marketing. When potential shoppers read reviews, it builds customer trust by showing them an endorsement of your brand's products or services from a specific user.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Example: Coca-cola “Share a Coke With Friends”: Omnichannel WOM
Coca-cola’s campaign asked for consumers to participate by sharing a personalized soda bottle with friends, in person, and on social media. Coca-cola even supported the campaign with events where consumers could create their own personalized Coke bottle.
This global campaign was based on the idea that if a consumer saw their names or their friends’ names on a Coca-Cola can or bottle, they would be more likely to purchase it. The campaign became a sensation, with people using the hashtag on their social media account. It was so big that after a point they were using coke bottles to photograph their pets. Social media makes digital WOM marketing much easier, but real WOM marketing happens both on and off the web.
Word of mouth marketing requires engagement with the target audience. It's a two-way join. WOM marketing can be very effective but is also a double-edged sword for brands.
Sources: 1. yotbo.com 2. Investopedia.com