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Word-of-Mouth Marketing in the Digital Era

Today we live in an environment where digital technology reigns supreme. From children to senior citizens, we all heavily rely on various digital technologies for entertainment, communication, carrying out financial transactions, and making purchases. Therefore, it is obvious that any good marketer would take advantage of the numerous digital channels to promote brand awareness and communicate with his or her target audience. The explosion of digital marketing has rendered traditional forms of brand/product promotion useless since almost everyone is online. As a marketer, I beg to differ with this absolute claim. Some traditional forms of marketing are still very relevant and quite effective. Believe it or not, word-of-mouth is still an unbeatable marketing strategy.

YES! You read correctly, word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to promote products and services, increase brand recognition and sales and build customer loyalty. Khalid Saleh the CEO and co-founder of Invesp. postulates that word-of-mouth marketing drives approximately $6 trillion of yearly customer spending. He further argues that word-of-mouth marketing impressions result in five times more sales than paid media impressions. He indicates that people are 90% more likely to trust their friends and family over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions. Moreover, 64% of marketers believe that word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. It is abundantly clear that sharing your positive brand/product experience or WOM is far more effective than using digital strategies. However, we can no longer think of WOM as a causal dialogue on a brand/product experience among friends, family, and coworkers. As marketing evolutionists, we must consider how we can integrate digital platforms and a word-of-mouth strategy. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok are brilliant avenues to spread the word about your brand/product. People enjoy sharing their experiences on social media. A great deal of organic brand engagement happens on social media.

On the other hand, WOM can be a well-planned social media strategy. Brands can leverage appropriate influencers to talk about their positive experiences with your brand on various social media platforms. Creating a buzz via online competitions or a tease of a new product can stimulate conversation about your brand. Additionally, an incentivized referral program using your loyal customers can be established. Pictures and short videos of customers at events talking about your brand can be used on social media platforms to increase awareness and foster engagement. We live in a time when not many entities can stand independently and achieve unprecedented success. Traditional word-of-mouth while still very effective has to evolve. Bringing various customer experiences to the omnipresent digital technologies is the only way a WOM strategy can be enhanced and be able to reach a wider audience. We can no longer wait and expect people to recommend our brand; we need to take action to get people talking about our brand NOW!

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