Term: Word of Mouth (WOM)
Definition: Word of Mouth (WOM) is the process of sharing information, thoughts and opinions about products, services, or brands through verbal or written communication.
Alternative Names: Mouth to Mouth Advertising
Expanded Explanation: Word of mouth referrals can occur both offline and online and includes conversations in person, as well as sharing on social media, review websites and other digital platforms. This organic form of promotion often has a significant impact on a brand’s reputation and consumer decision-making.
Benefits or Importance:
- Creates a high level of trust as it often involves recommendations from friends, family or other trusted individuals.
- Leads to higher conversion rates as the prospects have been pre-sold on the quality and benefits of the product or service.
- Enhances brand awareness and reputation.
Common Misconceptions or Pitfalls: One common misconception is that word of mouth marketing is entirely out of a company’s control. While it is largely influenced by customer experiences, companies can take strategic steps to encourage positive WOM, such as providing exceptional customer service, creating high-quality products and fostering a community around their brand.
Use Cases: Word of mouth marketing can be applied in virtually any industry, as it is a universal form of communication and recommendation.
Real-world Examples: Examples of WOM include a customer leaving a positive review on a company’s Facebook page, a client recommending a digital agency to their colleague, or a satisfied customer tweeting about a product they’ve just purchased.
Best Practices or Tips:
- Deliver exceptional customer service to encourage positive word of mouth recommendations.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews and share their experiences.
- Create a customer referral programme.
Limitations or Considerations: While word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, it can also lead to negative publicity if customers have poor experiences with a product or service. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain high-quality standards and manage customer expectations effectively.
Comparisons: WOM can be compared to influencer marketing, where influencers share their opinions about a product or service with their followers. However, word of mouth recommendations often involve more personal relationships and, therefore, typically have a higher level of trust.
Historical Context or Development: WOM is one of the oldest forms of marketing, dating back to times when people would share their recommendations and experiences with one another in person. With the advent of the internet, it has evolved and now also takes place online.
Resources for Further Learning:
- ‘The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited’ by Emanuel Rosen is a book that provides in-depth insights into how WOM works and how it can be leveraged for business success.
- HubSpot: Word of Mouth Marketing: What It Is and How to Make It Work
- Social Media Management Services – Our agency offers high-quality social media marketing and management services.
- Reputation Management Services – We can help to generate positive WOM for your business by engaging with customers and managing your brand reputation effectively.
Related Terms: Organic Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Referral Marketing, Social Proof