GETTING THE WORD (OF MOUTH) OUT

For marketing professionals, nothing beats word of mouth for getting the message out in a way that customers trust and respond to. There’s nothing new about this – word of mouth has been in use as a marketing tool for almost as long words themselves. It is still the most trusted channel for people to get information on a brand, a product, or even other people. When it comes to purchasing decisions, we all trust the opinions of our friends and other customers like us more than the messages we receive directly from a business. For businesses to succeed, they need to develop effective strategies for generating positive word of mouth.

Constant Contact, a marketing service provider specializing in developing engagement marketing campaigns for small businesses and non-profits, stresses the importance of word of mouth in creating productive and lasting customer relationships. In the video below, Constant Comment General Manager of Social Media Mark Schmulen discusses why word of mouth is so effective. Schmulen says that a great customer experience should always come first, but that businesses should follow-up that experience with reminders that customers can connect through Facebook or Twitter and give recommendations. Businesses should also add social media contact information to signage, emails, business cards, and brochures. Constant Comment also provides their clients with a Share Bar that, when placed in email messages, contains links that enable subscribers to like, share, and retweet the message to friends.

Word of mouth is just as important to large companies, many of whom have been slow to adopt social media into their marketing arsenal. Since it has been around so long, many corporations mistakenly assume that it just happens, and that there is not a lot that can be done to promote word of mouth marketing. In a guest blog on wordofmouth.org, Drew McLellan writes that every business needs to 1) create highly satisfied customers, and 2) enlist those customers to share their positive experience. Customers are five times more likely to share a bad experience than a good one, so businesses have to create an exceptionally positive experience before people will be inspired to talk about it. “Surprise them,” McLellan says; give them a great story to pass along. And make it easy for them – add links to the company Facebook page or website, and collect testimonials, but make sure that they’re presented in an engaging style.

In another wordofmouth.org blog entry, Boeing’s Director of External Communications, Todd Blecher explains why a large Fortune 500 company should concern itself with word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth channels help humanize these large companies in the minds of their customers, says Blecher, and deepens the customers’ relationship with the brand. Jets aren’t delivered in boxes, so Boeing doesn’t really qualify as a consumer packaged goods corporation, but the lessons and strategies that Blecher shares in his presentation can be applied to any company, large, medium, or small, that wants to advance its brand awareness, customer engagement, and marketing reach through social media.

 

-Paul Heitsch

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~ by goodpackagedconsumers on October 21, 2012.

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