When answering the question “What Is Word Of Mouth Marketing?” it is usually easier to start by picturing a world without mass media, kind of like the early times. During those times when reading and writing was exclusively for a select class, news still spread around. Word of mouth marketing was the exclusive form of marketing available during those times.
What’s The Big Fuss?
Well, word of mouth marketing relies on people talking about a product or service to others. This is done in tightly knit social circles where trust has already been cultivated and the opinion of the speaker matter.
Take for example, a sales man telling you about a new brand of bread, and your mother praising the same brand of bread. Chances are you will most likely listen and act on your mother’s opinion as opposed to the sales man, assuming of course that your family relationship is okay.
What makes word of mouth marketing the dream of every marketing strategist is the trust element. Mostly, you buy a specific brand because you trust that it will do for you what the person who recommended it to you told you it will. First time purchases usually are out of curiosity, but for more of us because someone else convinced you.
Word of mouth makes for a much more reliable case of sales. It is cheaper and when done properly, it gets you invaluable market loyalty.
Impact Of Social Media On Word Of Mouth Marketing
When social media entered the scene, it introduced a completely new answer to the question “What is word of mouth marketing?” We all know how vital social media has become, from the advent of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and most recently Instagram and Pintrest. Social media has made word of mouth both easier to initiate and monitor today.
Today, you can create global awareness to the close to 1 billion Facebook users alone. On social media, news spread ever too quickly. Brands today have an opportunity to initiate conversation on social media through brand ambassadors and other tactics to popularize their products at a much cheaper price.
Potential Danger Associated With Word Of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth, as stated before, is based on trustworthy information. So, if the person talking about your product has had a negative experience, be sure for rough times ahead. Changing the opinion of someone who has information from a trustworthy “mouth” source is very difficult.
With the advent of social media, such news can travel exceedingly fast. One humorous example is how Korean Air posted an advertisement about a new route to Kenya. It described Kenyans as possessing “primitive energy”. Within 24 hours, there was such uproar on Facebook and Twitter, the company had to withdraw the advert and issue an official apology.
Keep Your Fundamentals Right
Over the years, the answer to what is word of mouth marketing may have changed, but the principle remains the same. Make sure that only good things are coming out. It is therefore important to make sure that the fundamentals of your product and customer service are in tip top shape so as to avoid the dark side of this powerful marketing phenomenon.