Do you know what the world is considering as one of the most trustworthy marketing strategies? Take a wild guess! No, it isn’t product placements or PPC ads. It isn’t celebrity endorsements or game commercials. The best marketing strategy comes from other people, regardless of whether you know them or not. Recent studies have shown that a majority of the respondents accept recommendations from family and friends. In fact, from people in general. Shocking as it may sound, it shows that trusting people’s recommendations has impacted more than just the reputation and perception of brands. This form of marketing is more than just any illusory “make it go viral” tactic. 

So, what really is Word of Mouth strategy?

When a consumer’s or customer’s interest , in a service or product provided by a brand/company, is echoed in their everyday conversations, it is called as Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). Fundamentally, this is a type of free advertising, generated by your customers on the basis of their consumer experience. 

WOMM can be used as a critical component in a marketing campaign to pack a big punch. It can occur organically or through amplification. This marketing strategy can build or break your company/brand/business. When done right, you will not require even an ad budget because your customers will talk about you, which is much better than paying for a billboard. For instance, Tesla avoids advertising. Despite that, everybody knows about each of their products and their latest releases. Why? People! And their fanatical observations and descriptions of the brand! 

Well, why is WOMM important?

The last time you enjoyed a wonderful dining experience with family/friends, you must have tweeted about it, posted stories on Instagram or checked-in on Facebook. This is nothing but word of mouth advertising. When customers talk about a business/brand with other people, it starts of a chain reaction of trusted recommendations. In a way, the word of mouth strategy automatically comes into play, without much effort or initiation. This leads to increased recognition of your business, while attracting potential customers. 

It has been found that consumers tend to rely on social reviews posted by customers based on real-life experiences, same as how they trust what their friends and families say. Due to the roaring success of WOMM to help build a brand or grow a business, companies now house their own social media marketing teams that help create communities. This helps the brand engage with their customers regularly, upping the rate of sales, potential buyers and brand loyalty from existing customers.  

Best WOMM strategies for 2020

Let’s get one thing right – WOMM isn’t a magic wand that you can wave and make everything better. It is a long but fruitful journey that comes with a big payoff, provided you put in the work. If you have a massive cult following like Disney or Nike does, then this type of marketing is extremely easy. However, for small or local businesses, there needs to be ground work laid, in order for the word of mouth marketing to materialise. 

Employees first: The best people who can promote your business are the ones who know everything about it, and they are the people who work with you. Your employees make your brand thrive, and keeping this lifeblood system going is what you must aim for. When the workforce is encouraged, supported and happy, it shows in their thoughts, feelings and most importantly behaviour towards the customers. 

Give the customers a reason to rave: One of the simplest ways to implement the word of mouth strategy is by doing right by your customers. Provide top notch customer service, and ensure quality product/service delivery. It is equally important the staff interactions with customers are helpful, cordial and everything a customer would desire. To put it simply, when customers experience positive interactions, they are more likely to voluntarily spread the word about your business. 

Be unique: What makes you the talk of the town is when the product or service you provide is note-worthy. This can happen when you have a one-of-a-kind item/service, your company has a unique culture, or you implement bizarre marketing ideas. The best example would be the WOMM campaign that Old Spice implemented, where all you could think about was ‘the man your man could possibly smell like’. Although the campaign sounded strange, it brought forth the brand’s identity and was out of the ordinary, which people appreciated.

Engage with the community: The ideal way to keep the chatter about your business going is by being a part of it. Create a presence in your potential and existing customers’ lives by engaging with the collective audience. Create a tight-knit social sphere online, wherein the community can develop further by hosting contests, encourage conversations, loyalty programs, organising (online/offline) events, and more. Extremely well-managed communities allow users to identify themselves, such as fans of movies or TV shows name themselves Trekkies, Potterheads, and so on. This type of devotion isn’t easy to achieve, but once got it is the most powerful arrow in the WOMM quiver.

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