Make Word-Of-Mouth A Key Part Of Your Marketing Mix

Apr 13, 2021

What is word-of-mouth marketing?

Word-of-mouth marketing – also known as word-of-mouth advertising – means influencing and encouraging discussion among consumers about your brand, product, service, or event. Sixty-four percent of marketing executives agree it’s the most effective form of marketing. Probably because consumers trust it above all others, meaning it’s most likely to drive sales for your business.

There are two types: the first is organic word-of-mouth marketing, where consumers become advocates for your brand of their own accord, simply because they’ve had a positive customer experience. The second is amplified word-of-mouth marketing, where marketers create dedicated campaigns to encourage and accelerate this process. Most effective word-of-mouth marketing strategies include a combination of both.

Why should you care about word-of-mouth marketing?

Seventy-four percent of consumers say word-of-mouth is a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. Maybe that’s because 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising, with 88% trusting online reviews just as much.

Aside from driving sales, word-of-mouth marketing has other benefits, too. For one thing, you spend less on advertising and reduce your customer acquisition cost, since word-of-mouth marketing is designed to reach a broad audience without billboards or banners. It also encourages emotional engagement with your brand, which makes customers more loyal and increases their lifetime value. As David Mercer, founder of SME Pals, puts it, “Word-of-mouth customers come with built-in levels of trust and confidence that other channels don’t.”

Word-of-mouth encourages emotional engagement with your brand, which makes customers more loyal and increases their lifetime value.

Why does word-of-mouth marketing work?

Studies show there are two driving factors for word-of-mouth marketing: social currency, and triggers. Social currency is the theory that people share information that maintains or enhances their desired reputation. Creative marketing campaigns that offer your audience an opportunity to seem special or in-the-know are more likely to be talked about, which leads to greater traction.

The second factor is triggers: natural social mechanisms that remind us of a brand, without the need for advertising. Creating strong word-of-mouth triggers means giving your customers a unique and memorable experience, thought or feeling they feel compelled to tell others about. Like a cooking class with your partner. Or an unforgettable family trip to Europe.

Meanwhile, visual triggers are useful for generating word-of-mouth marketing on social media. Like an in-store activation that screams to be photographed. Or a free Christmas tree delivered to your door.

To put social currency and triggers to work for your brand, you first need to understand how your ideal customer wants to be seen, by themselves or others. If you want them to talk about your brand, you have to help them enhance that image. Second, you need to give them something they consider worth talking about. It’s easy to see why creating customer personas is a crucial first step in generating more word-of-mouth marketing.

How do you create word-of-mouth marketing?

For effective word-of-mouth marketing, president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Suzanne Fanning says you should focus on the three Es: Engage, Equip, and Empower.

Consider that 80% of emotionally engaged consumers will promote brands they are loyal to among their family and friends, and 44% of consumers endorse a product based on emotional criteria. Engaging with consumers is about creating a two-way conversation that nurtures that emotional connection. That means not just marketing at your audience, but really listening to what they want from you – and delivering on that need.

Equipping your audience comes back to social currency and triggers. You want to give consumers something they can use – a reason to talk about your brand. Perhaps by connecting your brand with what they already like, as per the halo effect. Or, in Maslow’s terms, by helping them self-optimise in some way. You could even offer them a tool for social bonding in the form of a shared experience.

Empowering your customers means giving them the motivation and opportunity to spread the word. Perhaps you employ gamification to make the customer experience more interactive and exciting. But simply showing up on the platforms or in the spaces they frequent and asking for their input can work just as well. It’s about handing over the reins and actively encouraging interaction among your community.

How can rewards help you generate word-of-mouth marketing?

At RIX, we come up with creative reward solutions that focus on people instead of products, because that’s what gets customers talking about your brand. We work with you to discover what makes your target audience tick, then create and manage custom rewards that boost brand engagement, while increasing market share and revenue.

Sounds good? Get in touch to find out how we can help you generate more word-of-mouth marketing for your brand.


Want to get creative reward ideas tailored to your customers? Get in touch.

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