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Word-of-Mouth Marketing



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What is word of mouth marketing?

Before we can understand how to use word of mouth marketing to improve our business add it to our marketing mix it is helpful to understand exactly what word of mouth marketing is and what word of mouth marketing isn’t.

Here are three very different, yet very similar definitions of word of mouth marketing

Word of Mouth Marketing Definition #1 The act of consumers providing information to other consumers.

Word of mouth marketing Definition #2 Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place.

Word of mouth marketing Definition #3 The art and science of building active, mutually beneficial consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.

Still confused?

Word of mouth marketing is marketing that quite simply happens when someone talks about your business product or service. That someone can be the business owner, employees and contractors, the press, customers, and even potential customers.

Quite often word of mouth marketing is based on customer satisfaction. For example, word of mouth marketing might be talking to an associate about where they get their oil changed. That associate then tells a horror story about one place they went and another story about where they go now. They may even share a story about a place they heard that had a good reputation – that is the power of word of mouth marketing. To receive an endorsement from someone who isn’t even a customer.

While word of mouth marketing implies speaking, that doesn’t have to be the case. Referrals, testimonials, and endorsements are all word of mouth marketing. A blog post that refers to a particular business is considered word of mouth marketing. It muddies the definition, for sure, however if you take a look at the definition in detail it doesn’t specify speaking, simply communication.

Types of word of mouth Marketing

Understanding that word of mouth marketing is the strategy of making it easier for people to communicate with each other about your business here are a few types of word of mouth marketing.

Viral Marketing. This is a common buzzword among internet business owners over the past six months or so. Viral marketing means creating information that is meant to be passed along. It can be something as simple as a YouTube video or something more complex like an ebook or newsletter - the intent is to share information. When a company’s product or service is tied to the message, viral marketing can be extremely powerful.

For example, consider the number of starving musicians who post a song or two on MySpace or YouTube and have become overnight sensations. People share the music and pretty soon there are millions of downloads and a recording contract follows.

With business, viral marketing works much the same way, sans the recording contract. Post a funny or interesting commercial about your business, it is shared and your website traffic skyrockets.

Community Marketing. Imagine the power word of mouth marketing would have for a personal trainer and nutritionist that formed an alliance with a local running organization. What if that organization were a statewide group? This is community marketing. It is when businesses support a niche community that is likely to share interests or have needs related to the business. By supporting the community, the business owner is not only gaining a tremendous amount of customers, brand awareness, and profits from that community, they’re providing benefit to that particular group.

Product Seeding. Get a celebrity to hold a can of Coke and suddenly everyone is drinking Coke. Likewise getting someone with influence in your niche to use or be seen using your product and voila instant recognition. This can also be called Influencer Marketing, however influencer marketing differs slightly because rather than simply being seen holding a can of Coke, the influential person will actually talk about how much they like Coke and how Coke has changed their life.

Referral Programs are another very common and somewhat more attainable word of mouth marketing technique and probably much easier than getting your product or service into the hands of a nationally known figure. That being said, it isn’t necessary to have a celebrity endorse your business, it just has to be someone with influence in your niche market. Referral marketing on the other hand is a much more straight forward campaign where associates simply refer associates in exchange for some additional benefit like a coupon or discount.

Word of mouth marketing is based on giving people something to talk about. It can be a really great product or service, a funny ad, or a celebrity being photographed with your product in their hand the end result is people are talking, (or emailing or blogging or sharing videos) about your business.



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