Happy Wednesday! We continue with our daily Digital Marketing Advent Calendar release with the definition of “Word of Mouth Marketing”. Deborah Holland is the Chair of the Board at WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), and has given us her take on exactly what this term means, how it’s applied and why it’s so important to know.

🎈 Defining “Word of Mouth Marketing” 

Word of mouth marketing relies on conversations, recommendations and social interactions to promote a product, service or idea.  This method is more effective than traditional advertising in driving sales because a consumer is more likely to trust a friend, peer or respected category expert instead of information from a brand.  Although it’s been around since the beginning of time, word of mouth marketing has become amplified with the advent of online social networks.

Word of mouth marketing is any business action that earns a customer recommendation – social, influencers or advocates.  The aim is to delight consumers so they will gladly share their stories of exceptional service, outstanding value, superior products and/or a unique community, resulting in earned media exposure that enhances paid media and drives sales.  

🔎 How to apply it

This communication can occur face-to-face, over the phone, online or on social media platforms.  Endorsements include not only customer testimonials and brand mentions, but also likes, shares, tweets, photos and videos.  The ease of sharing content via social media has increased the speed and reach of word of mouth stories, enabling them to become “viral,” indicating rapid market penetration.

🔎 Why it’s so powerful

The power of this marketing method has been proven by research that shows an overwhelming majority of consumers rely on customer reviews when considering a purchase and their actions are influenced by their friends’ or other social media posts.  Since consumers rely on this information, honesty, transparency and trust are at the core of word of mouth marketing.  

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), a non-profit trade organization dedicated to the ethical practice of word of mouth marketing, develops standards and guidelines for best practices.

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