Is word-of-mouth marketing always equally efficient?

Word of mouth Word-of-mouth marketing works better in some situations than in others. We should bear in mind that word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is not an isolated island in a world where we look at marketing from a 360-degree perspective.

Just like social media marketing, WOM has its place in the entire marketing strategy and sometimes it doesn’t even apply at all.

1. Some products and services are more suitable for word-of-mouth marketing than others

One example are products that are highly dependent on the personal taste and preference of each consumer. These are difficult to control in a WOM campaign if the opinion of one consumer is not influenced by that of another. Such products are sometimes better marketed by focusing on lifestyle, icons of the target group, individualism, etc.

2. Word-of-mouth as a result of marketing actions

WOM can be seen as an inevitable intermediate link between marketing communication, peer advice and purchase decision. It is inevitable because product and brand messages are always talked about regardless of the marketing objective you strive towards or the communication channels you use. WOM happens. Period. Obviously there are certain forms of communication (such as a grand-scale cross-media campaign) that generate more WOM than others. In other words, there is a relationship between WOM and marketing activities.
3. Word-of-mouth marketing involves various media

In times when the internet plays such an important role, it is tempting to narrow WOM down to social media alone. This would be a huge error: WOM has existed much longer than the online media and there are various ways of setting up WOM actions, including through offline media and/or a cross-media approach. A seminar with a neutral, reliable speaker in a B2B environment can be an excellent way to make people talk about your brand, product or service. Reliable ‘testimonies’ distributed by traditional media and even PR are other options.

4. Sometimes WOM is more suitable

Word-of-mouth marketing is largely based on reliability and credibility. It is obviously extremely appropriate if for whatever reason your product, service, company or brand is having problems in this field, particularly if you are wrongfully subjected to severe criticism. Influential ‘voices’ are also often used to launch new products, for example by having them test the product.

As you could read here yesterday, unfortunately this often happens in a way that’s not really transparent. These are just a few examples of situations where WOM is an excellent option.

J-P De Clerck is a
former online publisher, experienced interactive marketer and serial
blogger. He's a 360° thinker and believes in people, peer-to-peer
and the power of content. He spends his spare time writing,
doing stuff with the kids and experimenting. You can connect with him via Twitter

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1 thought on “Is word-of-mouth marketing always equally efficient?”

  1. I completely agree that marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to just thinking about social media. In fact, I believe word of mouth marketing is a strategy (like any other marketing initiative) with skills that can be learned. It can be systemized, and successfully duplicated over and over again. The system enables tracking, measuring, and then altering tactics so efficiencies are maximized.

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