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Engage, equip and empower: how to harness word-of-mouth marketing to increase your brand’s reach

Verun Rastogii
7th Oct 2018
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When social media was yet to become the phenomenon it is today, word-of-mouth marketing ruled the roost. It has always been a powerful way to influence business results. Who do you trust more? A friend who has tried a brand’s clothing and can vouch for its shipping and customer services or a social media influencer who has promotes it in exchange for money?

If you could master what has been acknowledged as the most appreciated kind of marketing – the one built on consumers’ experience and trust – you will be able to truly increase your brand’s reach and recall.

According to Nielsen Holdings PLC, 92 percent of consumers go with recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. In a recent study, 64 percent of marketing executives indicated that they trust word of mouth to be the most effective form of marketing. However, only six percent have mastered it.

Consumers value and marketers swear by word of mouth, but it stays as one of the most unconquered methods of marketing. The problem lies with the people who focus on “collecting” instead of “connecting.” In other words, brands are too caught up in increasing social media followers and forgetting to connect with them. Having 100 really passionate fans that love your brand or product/service is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 people who sign up for a free iPad.

Just like in life—if you have to buy your friends, are they really your friends?

Traditionally or academically, marketers used to focus on the four Ps. You probably had them drilled into your head as you pursued your marketing degree. Well, now marketers need to focus on the three Es: Engage, Equip, Empower. If you can master these, you can become the most beloved and much talked-about product in your category, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. We’ve seen a good word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) campaign generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year (yes, even for the boring products).

WOMM has been around since cavemen roamed the earth. It’s likely that one caveman told another about a popular hunting spot and that ultimately turned into the most popular hunting area in their cave community.

It worked then, and it will work now. However, technology has increased social connectivity, making it easier than ever for consumers to do your marketing for you. A post that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write will be seen by hundreds of friends who trust them, and it can rapidly travel out to thousands more. Well-planned messages have been shared by millions within the span of days. You should also consider the fact that those who read the post could potentially have millions of offline conversations with friends, families, acquaintances or even consumers looking perplexed in store aisles.

Fueling conversations and driving passion will make a huge difference to your brand. WOMM is credible, social, repeatable and respectful. Dishonesty is not acceptable.

Being talked about requires a strategy and a plan that goes beyond “likes”. It requires deeper insight about your customers. As John Moore, the marketer for Starbucks and Whole Foods, says, “If people are not talking about you, they are forgetting about you.” The WOMM’s mission is to help marketers master this method, so take advantage of their expertise.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

 

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