In its original form world-of-mouth marketing is one of the purest and the most effective types of brand promotion. Growing number of commercials everywhere we go makes personal stories, referrals and testimonials stick out from the pile of impersonal promotional messages. In the digital age (which is also seen as a marketing renaissance) world-to-mouth marketing’s role in corporate marketing strategies is exponentially growing.

Word-to-mouth marketing and its role in creating a buzz

Creating a buzz around a certain product is one of the main goals of any viral marketing campaign. Word-to-mouth can be successfully used for this purpose. In digital age, we see strong marketing buzz, around many different products, and we’re going to offer you two latest examples:

  • Uber– Currently Uber uses one of the most disputed business models in the world, which is controverted by taxi drivers, their unions, certain anti-globalist groups and many other people, including government officials in many different countries. This company somehow succeeds in turning all negative press into positive buzz that makes it even more popular. Word-to-mouth methods have a huge share in Uber’s marketing campaigns. It uses millennial influencers to share positive experiences with this app-based taxi company.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens- New Star Wars sequel created a massive buzz. Most of it was created through social networks with large-scale word-to-mouth marketing involvement. The great thing about each Star Wars (and Lord of the Rings) sequel, is that this franchise has a very passionate fan base, which was initiated by Disney marketing team to discuss a future movie, share promo material and do all kinds of PR stunts long before The Force Awakens hit the movie screens.

Why social networks are important

The thing these two examples have in common is an extensive use of social networks in their marketing campaigns. Social networks are marketer’s paradise, and they are especially efficient in marketing campaigns that involve a lot of word-to-mouth promotion. Facebook’s Average Joe and Jane have 338 friends on their friend’s lists, and since the average organic reach of Facebook posts is 12%, each testimonial or referral shared by a Facebook user is seen by more than 40 other users. For people who can be seen as influencers and who have many followers, these figures are much bigger. That’s why they should be marketer’s prime targets.

Role of influencers

Social networks made many people famous. Before we were only interested in what: politicians, clerics, pop-stars, movie-stars and athletes had to say. Now there are celebrities everywhere, from various bloggers to people who run famous YouTube channels, good looking individuals who like to share their photos on Instagram, etc. This huge base of celebrities is ideal for brand promotion and since most of these people are not as big as Brad, Angelina, LeBron or Beyoncé, companies don’t need to sign contracts and spend millions of dollars for promotion. Internet celebs are just like us (sometimes this is one of the reasons why they’re so popular in the first place), and in most cases polite requests and batch of sample products does the trick. Other than that, there are plenty of other ways to make both influencers and customers to share good thoughts online.

How to make them talk

These are some of our favorite ways to make customers talk about certain brand:

  • Ask– In many cases, a polite request is all that’s needed. This usually works with satisfied customers, who expressed their sympathy to company’s products through private messages, mails or in person;
  • Offer discounts– People who like or are in the need for company’s products can be persuaded to share testimonials and positive experiences in exchange for discounts on products they want to buy;
  • Give presents– handing out presents to customers or sending them to their home address can be a great stimulant for them to share their positive thoughts about company’s products;
  • Hand out visa gift cards– these cards should be handed out to the most loyal customers, and therefore the biggest brand advocates. Visa gift cards can be personalized, and they can come with customized photos and inscriptions. In most cases the amount on the card ranges from $10 to $500;

Word-to-mouth marketing is becoming the most effective way to promote different brands. With the introduction of social networks and websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, personal opinion became more valuable than any other more expensive type of promotion. The high popularity of WOM took some marketers to the ‘dark side’. They start paying people to write fake product reviews. Luckily with more strict review website’s control and improved consumer’s intuition, fake reviews are finally going back to obscurity, together with marketers who used these dirty practices.