Selling At Retail: Why Word Of Mouth Marketing Is The Most Important Social Media
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). Isn’t this really the original social media platform? I grew up with the famous Faberge commercial that showed a woman who “told 2 friends” about the product and how “they told 2 friends … and so on … and so on”. Hasn’t WOM always been a powerful way to influence business results?
A recent conference had several experts explain the different types of social and mobile marketing present. Suzanne Fanning, President of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), gave a very interesting, data-based presentation on the power of WOMM and contemporary efforts to create experiences worthy of being passed from person-to-person. What follows are thoughts she shared with me regarding the importance of WOMM and examples of how marketers are taking advantage of its power.
Why should Marketers care about WOMM?
If you could master what has been identified as the most valuable form of marketing—the one that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales for your company — would you instead choose to ignore it or leave it to chance?
Why would you simply choose to sit back and hope conversations will just happen organically about your brand? If you want to win the marketing race in 2015, you need to unleash the power of word of mouth.
Let’s look at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6% say they have mastered it.
If consumers value word of mouth and marketers believe it is effective, then why aren’t marketers more focused on it?
The problem is that for the last few years, marketers have been focused on “collecting” instead of “connecting.” In other words, brands are too caught up in collecting social media fans and they are forgetting to actually connect with them. Having 100 really passionate fans that love your brand or product is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 “fans” who signed up just to win a free iPad from you.
Just like in life—if you have to buy your friends, are they really your friends?
And why should we stop at likes anyway? Why not shoot for LOVE.
Marketers used to focus on the 4 P’s. You probably had them drilled into your head as you pursued your marketing degree. Well, now marketers need to focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower. If you can master these, you can become the most beloved and talked about product in your category, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. We’ve seen a good WOMM campaign generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year (yes, even for the boring products).
Can you explain the Three E’s in more detail?
Engage—Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Be a presence in your fans’ lives. @NikeSupport is a prime example of customer service done well. They constantly respond to followers on Twitter, whether it’s about their apparel, Fuel Band or other products. Every few minutes, you can watch them respond to someone new.
Equip—Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. It’s on you. It really depends on you understanding your consumers and what they like about you and providing whatever it is they need from you. Apple revolutionizes technological devices and delivers amazing products to its consumers, allowing them to naturally raze about the newest iPhone. Another area to excel in and that’s on the rise is social customer service.
Empower—Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Help them find ways to share within their circles and find ways to help move their conversations around. Lay’s is an excellent example to highlight how they empowered their fans to “Do Us a Flavor,” and allow consumers to create a new flavor of potato chips to hit store shelves. Over 3.8 million submissions were sent in 2013 making it one of the biggest marketing campaigns for PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay.