Word of Mouth (WOM) is the oldest and most valuable form of marketing. It’s how people originally found out about products and services before there was print and TV advertising. Even today, consumers still rely on WOM. “According to a new study from marketing firm Lithium Technologies, one third of Americans said they don’t trust advertising to give them information about a product or service they are interested in buying. More than two-thirds of the respondents in the U.S. said they were more receptive to recommendations from family and friends than to online advertising, the study found” (Tadena, 2014).
Marketing’s Role in WOMM
“WOMM is word of mouth marketing, and it’s an art and a science, that really savvy practitioners use to drive conversations and earn recommendations. It’s about companies/brands/products being so interesting and wonderful that people want to talk about them” (Fanning, 2013). It’s about creating buzz! In a recent study conducted by WOMMA and AMA, 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 (Whitler, 2014).
So if marketers believe WOMM is effective and consumers value it, why isn’t it more of a focus for marketers? “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” (Whitler, 2014). Marketers need to now focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower. WOMM should take place both on and offline. It’s about connecting and driving conversations!