|Accelerating Word of Mouth
One of the newest and most exciting areas of marketing
Word Of Mouth (WOM) Marketing.
Word of mouth (or WOM) has traditionally ranked as one of the
top 3 to 4 sources of marketing success. When asked the question,
“How did you find out about us?” or “Why did
you try our product or service?” a common answer has always
been: “I heard about you from a friend (or other family
member or business colleague).” In the past five years
the importance of WOM Marketing has grown geometrically.
• Consumers and businesses are positively overwhelmed
by the quantity of information available to assist
in their decision making.
• They don’t have time to research and sort through
all of the information that is thrown at them.
• Internet communication makes WOM influencers even more
efficient and effective in their advisory roles.
• WOM cuts through the clutter – saving time, saving
money – by connecting prospects with someone
whose opinion they trust, someone who can give them advice and
Not surprisingly, in 2004 the Word of Mouth Marketing Association
(WOMMA) was founded. By 2005 WOMMA has 152
members and counting - - representing some of the most successfully
companies in America (Dell Computers was one of the early members).
The heart of the WOM approach is to develop
a full understanding of what is behind the prospect’s
decision to purchase or try a product. Understanding decision
dynamics has been a hallmark of K Group’s consulting practice
since the very beginning.
WOM Marketing uses traditional marketing tools as “decision
levers” to help prospects make a purchase decision. That
process begins by identifying specific decision leverage points
(both barriers and accelerators) and turning these decision
WOM programs. Have
Little-used marketing tools become powerful weapons when
included in a focused WOM Marketing Plan. Promises
(that are fair, accurate and clear), guarantees (that are relevant),
testimonials (from people the prospects know or trust), no-risk
tests (that allow trial without a full commitment). These tools
give us the WOM message and the method of delivery.
Definition: The essence of WOM marketing is
the delivery of a message regarding a specific product or service
by a “trusted advisor” (a person with no commercial
interest in your product) to another person or persons through
conversation, one-way testimonial, email or some other method
The power of WOM comes from the fact that it:
• Is Independent and Honest
• Shares the risk of the decision with
a trusted advisor
• Delivers the “use”
• Is live (typically)
• And most importantly, is self-generating!
The phrase “recommended by” becomes an attribute
of the product and services that benefit from good WOM
Most marketers take word of mouth for granted, spending massive
amounts of marketing dollars on advertising and promotional
programs without any consideration as to how they might stimulate
positive word of mouth about their product.
Marketers also spend thousands of dollars on market research
on their products and services without considering elements
that would accelerate positive word of mouth.
For example, marketers rarely ask:
• What do non-users ask users about your product?
• What do users tell non-users (unsolicited or if asked)?
• How do your customers persuade their friends to use
• What warnings do customers suggest
to your prospects?
• What do non-users need to know
before they will consider making a purchase?
• What do non-users need to know about your product, but
are afraid to ask?
In WOM Marketing we help our clients to answer two
1. What message needs to be injected into the
marketplace to turn the “word of mouth tide” in
2. How will those messages be delivered? Have
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Word of mouth marketing relies on a technique as old
as man-- the story. At the heart of a successful word of mouth
campaign is a compelling story. People love a good story. They
will tell their family a good story; they will tell their co-workers
a good story; they will tell old friends a good story.
In fact they will tell anyone who will listen to them, if the
Let’s face it everyday life can be boring, but when we
hear a good story that is astonishing or amazing or unusual,
we tend to pass it along. It is good for us and it is good for
the person we tell.
Unfortunately, marketers over the past 10 years have gotten
“too sophisticated” for story telling. They are
more interested in a catchy tag line or proclaiming that a high
profile celebrity is interested in their product. The marketing
landscape is littered with lots of traditional marketing “chatter”.
Most real successes have less to do with most of
this stuff and have much more to do with:
• A really good product that has substantiated
• Kick-started by influentials (users)
who will talk.
• Supported by customers that are willing to talk
about our product.
• Featuring a direct, low risk way to try
• With a meaningful, relevant no-risk guarantee.
• Recommended by real experts. Have
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