Word-of-Mouth Marketing 101

[As consumers, we have always relied on referrals””or warnings””from family and friends for everything from the best hotels and restaurants to accounting firms and ad agencies. But as conventional media becomes more fragmented, more and more marketers are trying to capture the power of a good referral.
With the fragmentation of conventional media, marketers should be looking for ways to enhance their referrals on a larger scale. This strategy is called Word-of-Mouth marketing.
A recent study of over 26,000 people found that 78% trusted “recommendations from other consumers,” which, in turn, significantly increased the likelihood that the recommendation resulted in a purchase. These numbers are way too powerful for any marketer to ignore.
As interactive marketing gains more and more credibility, we are finding that there is an increasing interest among our clients concerning ways to incorporate referrals or Word-of-Mouth marketing into their marketing campaigns. So what is Word-of-Mouth marketing? Since the interactive portion of this is such an emerging field, not everyone agrees on the answer, but the following are some examples:
– Buzz Marketing: Using high-profile entertainment or news to get people to talk about your brand.
– Viral Marketing: Creating entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along at an exponential rate, often online or by email.
– Community Marketing: Forming or supporting niche communities that are likely to share interests about your brand (such as user groups, fan clubs, and discussion forums); providing tools, content, and information to those communities.
– Grassroots Marketing: Organizing and motivating volunteers to engage in personal or local outreach.
– Evangelist Marketing: Cultivating evangelists, advocates, or volunteers who are encouraged to take a leadership role in actively spreading the word on your behalf.
– Product Seeding: Placing the right product into the right hands at the right time, providing information or samples to influential individuals who, in turn, share their experiences with the product.
– Influencer Marketing: Identifying key communities and opinion leaders who are likely to talk about products and have the ability to influence the opinions of others, including the press or industry analysts.
– Cause Marketing: Supporting local social causes to earn the respect and support of people who feel strongly about the cause.
– Conversational Creation: Interesting or fun advertising, emails, catchphrases, entertainment, or promotions designed to start word of mouth activity.
– Brand Blogging: Creating blogs and participating in the blogosphere, in the spirit of open, transparent communications; sharing information of value that the blog community may talk about.
– Referral Programs: Creating tools that enable satisfied customers to refer their friends. Email and other interactive methodologies are ways to offer innovative referral programs.
Now that you know some different types of Word-of-Mouth marketing, what can you do to start implementing it at your company?
Until next month…

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