Here at EdgeTheory we believe that Word of Mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. That makes conversation your biggest asset.
People have been sharing their opinions on products since that snake slithered up the tree in the Garden of Eden. Our ancestors listened to what folks had to say about recipes, products, and even husbands before there was ever an inkling of a Reviews page. So wouldn't that make Conversation (or Word of Mouth) the original social media platform? But surely as technology has evolved so has Word of Mouth, right? To quote Clueless heroine, Cher Horowitz, "As if."
How Powerful is Word of Mouth?
Whether you like it or not your brand is more about what other people say about your brand than where you're spending your marketing dollars. Don't believe me? InsightPool recently shared some interesting stats compiled by Sarah Dempster:
- Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey & Co.) Tweet This
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even if they don’t know them personally—over promotional content that comes directly from brands. (Nielsen)
- 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. (Nielsen)
- 81% of people said they’re influenced by what their friends share on social media. (Market Force)
- 81% of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts versus 78% who are influenced by the posts of the brands they follow on social media. (Market Force)
- 64% of survey respondents mostly or completely agree that WOMM is more effective than traditional marketing. (WOMMA)
- 70% of respondents are planning to increase their online WOMM spend, and 29% will increase their offline WOMM spend. (WOMMA)
- 82% use WOMM to increase their brand awareness, but 43% expect WOMM to improve their direct sales. (WOMMA)
Does WOMM Really Matter?
Heck yes! Just because conversation or word of mouth have been around since the dawn of man doesn't mean it can't be the most valuable form of marketing. If it's the one that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales for your company — would you ignore it?
You can't choose to sit back and hope conversations will just happen organically about your brand. If you want to win the marketing race, you must unleash the power of word of mouth.
Why Don't More Marketers Focus on Word of Mouth?
Once social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter hit the marketing landscape, brands became almost completely focused oncollecting social media fans. Growing a fan base is fine IF you are also actually connecting with them. I believe that it's more important to build a community. Having 200 really passionate fans that love your brand or product is exponentially more effective than having 20,000 “fans” who signed up to win a new iPad from you.
I mean, really - if you have to buy your friends, are they really your friends?
What Could Go Wrong?
Putting your brand out there and just talking into the void can be a little intimidating. Advocacy Marketing is becoming more and more popular with organizations. With Advocacy Marketing or Employee Advocacy you are setting up your biggest fans and your employees (who should be your biggest fans) to take to social media and start spreading the good word.
What could wrong when you let a group of individuals loose to represent and speak for or about your brand? What if the people who love your brand aren't the most knowledgeable or comfortable with social media. Some of your fans might love your brand but are too afraid of saying the wrong thing. Some of your fans or employees may not have the time to dedicate to talking up your brand on social media.
Therein lies the rub: There's no doubt that WOM is a formidable way to influence business results, but if you ever played the game "Telephone" as a child, you know that many times the message you're trying to convey can get diluted or, even worse, twisted.
How Do You Make WOM Work for You?
There are plenty of Advocacy platforms out there that help you round up the voices of your fans or employees to increase and influence positive Word of Mouth about your brand. With most of these platforms marketers create content designed for social venues, and then push that content to employees, for employees to publish through their personal social media.
It's a solid process to get your message to the masses but again, what if your fans or employees don't feel like they have the time to scroll through suggested tweets, pictures, videos, or any other content and set up on their social media or to log into some other platform for deployment. What about social media training? Do they have time for it? Do you? How can you ensure that adoption is wide-spread.
The EdgeTheory Solution
Our solution is easy. Soundboard. We do all the heavy lifting for you. We work with you or your marketing team to create the kind of content you'd be proud to have anyone share. Changed the direction of your marketing? Cool. We'll create new content that fits. Your marketing team or whomever you designate approves all of the content we create. All your fans have to do is opt in ONE TIME. After that we'll send awesome, approved content out over their social media handles. They don't have to do anything but go through a quick (one-time) sign up process.
Next thing you know your message is being amplified by the voices of your fans. It's like magic or like automated Word of Mouth. Their friends, family, ex-in laws see your clear message through the handle of someone they trust. It's fast. It's simple. It's effective.
Sound interesting? Let's have a conversation about how word of mouth and Soundboard can work for you you: http://edgetheory.com/