Pass it on- part 1

At our marketing club this week, we were focussing on Word of Mouth Marketing – how it works; why it works; the challenges it brings; and some tactics to make it work harder.
At first glance it may seem a little counter-intuitive that in an age of highly sophisticated marketing tools and techniques, word of mouth is arguably more important than ever, but a number of recent studies have shown that:
The opinion of friends, family and trusted sources is the most important factor influencing any individual’s decision
10% of the population have the greatest influence over the other 90%
Messages with a strong emotional connection and independence from the marketer are most likely to get through
In their book “Face to Face”, Ed Keller and Brad Fay claim that 90% of consumer conversations are held off-line rather than on-line and that pound for pound these are also more valuable conversations.
So why is this happening? Well here’s three possible factors:
Breakdown of trust – when MPs fiddle their expenses, newspapers hack people’s mobile phones, utility companies lie to us on our doorstep and we don’t even know what is in our burgers, consumers are becoming less trusting of brand communications
As choice increases, the risk of making a bad decision increases and ‘safety in numbers’ becomes more tempting. Does knowing that “80% of people who viewed this product bought it” make it a better product for me or just reduce the likelihood of ridicule and regret
In an increasingly globalised world, branded products, services and providers are becoming more distant from us and try to fit us into their segmentation model, while people we know (and respect) are more likely to truly understand our needs and priorities
Whatever you believe about the reasons, no-one seems to dispute the potential value of Word of Mouth Marketing. We just need to understand it and find a way to make it work for our businesses.
More in part 2…