Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) also known as Word of Mouth Advertising is: An unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product or service (Source: entrepreneur.com).
This is an extremely powerful form of marketing because the person promoting the business, product or service is doing so without the expectation of receiving any form of personal gain for the most part. There are some businesses that have recognized the power of word of mouth and they have incentives for referrals. For example, I went to a hair salon that offered free products every time I referred a new client. The truth is, I only referred people there because I believed I was receiving a great product and would want what I considered to be the best for my friends. And so, when a peer makes a recommendation they are putting themselves out on the line in terms of their reputation and trustworthiness.
Social & Digital Word of Mouth Marketing
The Internet has open the floodgates for sharing information with friends, communities and truly the world.
(1) Digital Referral
We are now social and digital shoppers. Where I once referred my friends to a hairdresser, I now can refer my friends to shopping websites. For example, the online discount designer retailer Gilt offers incentives to current members to refer a friend.
The truth is that if a friend did not refer me to Gilt , then I would never have known about the website and savings available to members.
(2) Online Review
TripAdvisor is one of many online resources that provide communities for people to share experiences and opinions about a business, product and/or service. The review process is a powerful way for people to connect and share their likes and dislikes. I have been persuaded to stay at one hotel over another based on TripAdvisor reviews. What is fascinating about a site like TripAdvisor is it has broken down the international barriers. A reviewer can be from anywhere in the world. Word of Mouth Marketing is not geographically confined.
(3) Sharing & Social Networks
The innovation of Apps on mobile devices has allowed for consumers to constantly be connected and interacting with like minded individuals and communities. Pinterest a virtual pin board has become a marketers dream. Individuals actually build their own pin boards with items that they like and want to share with their community. Now when browsing a store catalog a consumer can choose to pin items from the retailer’s website to their own Pinterest board. Fashion enthusiasts can become part of the Pose community and share and discover fashion online. Enthusiasts are becoming advocates online for the products that they love.
Share what you see … Taken from retailer Crate and Barrel website:
Facebook and Twitter are popular networking sites where people share with each other. According to a study published May 1, 2012 by Market Force:81% of U.S. online consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts, compared to 78% for brands’ posts. So when a friend endorses a product on Facebook there is a higher level of influence and trust then just a brand promotion alone. YouTube also lets people advocate for products.
Social Media has expanded the capabilities of word of mouth marketing. It is important that marketers maintain the authenticity and trust that comes with word of mouth.