Word of Mouth (WOM) has been one of the oldest forms of marketing that we have known. In spite of being a traditional form of marketing it continues to be one of the strongest. Earlier, word of mouth was spread as recommendation amongst family and friends, but today in the hyper-connected world it reaches far more people in a very short span of time.
In the modern day and age, word of mouth is described as both targeted efforts as well as natural ways, in which one exhibits his or her satisfactions towards a brand or a product. A Neilson study proved that over 92% people trusted word of mouth marketing over any other forms of advertising, which highlights a huge potential the WOM form of advertising carries.
In the marketing world, there are two forms of WOM that are commonly seen being used by brands. Organic WOM and Amplified WOM. An organic WOM occurs when brand advocates talk about the brand, product or service because they are very happy with it. It is a natural way of sharing their love for the brand with friends, colleagues, relatives and so on. Amplified WOM on the other hand is a marketer’s approach in increasing WOM about the brand in the current or newer brand communities. Both these forms of WOM have an overlap and when used well together, can fetch a high ROI for a brand.
Understand the Key Triggers Behind Word of Mouth Marketing!
UGC or user generate content is the word of mouth in the digital world we live in today. Reviews, testimonials, product pictures, experience stories and much more become different forms in which users showcase their love for a brand. So, what makes a person take out that extra time from his busy schedule to post any form of content about a specific brand? Here are some insights on why consumers would recommend your brand to their social circle:
- A Great Experience: In the competitive business world today, experience is all that it takes to create that lasting impression in the minds of the consumers. A great experience will get your consumers talking, and act as a driving tool for them to share it with their social circle. When one is made to feel special, they automatically have an instinct to share the feeling with their social circle. Hence, one of the greatest psychological drivers for WOM is experience that brands create for the advocates.
- Rewards and Incentives: Who doesn’t like to get rewards and incentives on their purchases? Gone are the days when discounts were key sellers. Today, brands go all out to reward their consumers through exciting points, referral schemes and other such tools. When planning out incentives and rewards, the language of communication plays a key role. When customers hear direct messages like refer your friend, they are less likely to recommend the brand. However, an indirect message like help a friend and both share the rewards is more likely to get your consumer to perform the required action.
- The Emotional Connect: When it comes to user generated content, it largely revolves around factors that make a consumer look or feel good. A consumer would talk about a certain lipstick or an outfit that she thinks compliments her looks. The ‘look good’ or ‘feeling good’ emotions play an important role when it comes to organic or natural word of mouth that consumers engage in. When a certain brand or product enhances a consumer’s goodness factor, it just gets them talking.
- The Ease of referrals: If you are planning a word of mouth marketing campaign, it is important to see ‘ease’ and ‘comfort’ from the consumer perspective. What is the effort required in referring your brand or product to a consumer is the factor that will make them commit to your WOM program? Create a simple user interface with streamlined processes, to engage more consumers with your referral program and to spread the WOM about your brand.
- Social High: We are all social beings and that is your key to spreading WOM amongst consumer and communities. Feelings that give us a social high include theories like: My friends will love this new product I own, my association with this brand will take me to another level in my social circle, my friends will view me as an expert and so on. If your marketing communication can reinforce these social needs for the consumers, they are more likely to indulge and share about their association with your brand through WOM.
- Social Risks: “How would I be perceived sharing this?”; “Do I come across as a spammer?”; “Does this really match my personality?” are some of the social risk questions that often come into a user’s mind before he/she indulges in WOM recommendations. It is a challenge upon the marketer to get rid of the user’s doubts and convince him to indulge in the WOM referrals.
Advocacy and WOM, today is being seen as one of the key marketing drivers that help businesses grow both their reputation and revenues. With an increasing dependence on WOM, it is important for marketers to employ innovative and engaging tactics that use the consumer psychographics to generate the desired WOM for the brand.