Word of Mouth Gets Personal

Word of Mouth Gets Personal

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Studies have shown that an individual receives between 1 000 to 3 000 advertising messages everyday and approximately 87 600 000 throughout their lives. With so much clutter, many consumers rely on their family and friends for product and service recommendations or referrals and this is where one can see the power in word-of-mouth marketing.

“The fact is consumers are more likely to trust what someone says than trust commercials or big billboard advertisements about a specific product or service. Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) follows a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, fostering greater customer loyalty, better return on marketing investment and ultimately perfecting one-on-one interaction,” explains Ryan McFadyen, co-owner and managing partner of HaveYouHeard.

Going social

Social media has allowed conversations to spread at the speed of light, regardless of destination, making it the largest mass communication medium to date. As social media becomes persistent the speed and frequency of WOMM will continue to increase.

“The ability for WOMM to surpass traditional channels like face to face and phonecalls becomes a double-edged sword for businesses, cutting marketing expenditure dramatically. In a recent Nielsen Global consumer survey of 25 000 Internet consumers from across 50 countries, it was found that 90% of the consumers surveyed said they trust recommendations by people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online,” he continues.

Jonathan Carson, president of Online International for the Nielsen Company observes, “The explosion in consumer generated media over the last couple of years means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process has increased significantly.”

One-to-one marketing allows business owners to access personal knowledge of individual consumers, usefully resulting in products and services being more accurately targeted (right specification at the right time in the right way).

“WOMM differentiates your company from the competition through collaborative relationships with your customers. This will allow your customers to share with you their unmet needs and product/ service aspirations and their most pressing issues. Business owners are then able to feed these needs directly into their production lines. Reducing the cost of keeping profitable customers far outweighs the cost of new customers. Satisfied and loyal customers provide excellent references and referrals thus expanding your WOMM,” adds McFadyen.

Extending your reach

Word-of-mouth campaigns generate results that can give your marketing programs more ‘spin’ for their money. In many cases, viral campaigns can significantly extend your reach while reinforcing your message among a core group of target consumers.

“In fact, marketers are beginning to experiment with new methods of promotion that strategically grants benefits offered through word-of-mouth promotion. Unlike salespeople who fight for an order from customers, controlled word-of-mouth promotion uses real people to help spread information about a product but do not directly elicit customer orders,” says McFadyen.

In today’s competitive marketplace there is little difference between products and services. What makes the difference and distinguishes one business from another is its relationship with the consumer.

“One-to-one marketing is an extremely powerful and effective form of word-of-mouth, it utilises the power and popularity of online social networks, online forums, blogs and the influence of the human voice and interaction to deliver your business’ unique marketing message and bring about exponential growth. Word of mouth marketing has helped SMEs to build and enhance their reputation, brand awareness and image at lower costs with potent results,” McFadyen concludes.

For more information visit www.haveyouheard.co.za