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Nowadays, in a world saturated with advertising, there is a growing need for more subtle and effective methods of reaching customers. One extremely effective strategy is Word-of-Mouth Marketing. It’s an approach that relies on communicating information about a product or an entire brand in a somewhat unconscious, yet natural way. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, discovering what exactly it is and how it can be used to achieve positive results.
The essence of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-Mouth Marketing is a method of generating conversations and discussions on the Internet to promote specific products, services, or the brand itself. It is a way of spreading information online, which can be conducted both overtly and covertly. While this form of marketing may seem like something new, it is actually based on classic concepts, such as the so-called “slipper mail” or recommendations, which we have known for a long time.
The role of marketers in Word-of-Mouth Marketing is to spark discussion on various platforms (such as online forums or social media), where information about a brand and its products can spread naturally and unforced. The purpose of this marketing is also to create positive emotions among consumers and inspire conversation. It should be remembered, however, that it is not about pushily urging customers to buy. Moreover, it is also important to conduct it appropriately, avoiding unwanted associations and being considered spam.
Types of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
We can generally divide Word-of-Mouth Marketing into two main categories:
- Buzz marketing — it is based on evoking emotional reactions among the audience, for example, by creating memes or creating new trends.
- Information marketing — this type of Word-of-Mouth Marketing focuses on providing information and leading discussions, especially on online forums and social media.
However, in Word-of-Mouth Marketing we can distinguish several other forms, the most popular of which are:
- Viral marketing — this is the creation of content that users are eager to share, such as memes or GIFs. The goal of viral marketing is to create a message that is interesting and engaging enough to engage its audience to spread it further and build the reach of the communicated information. However, care should be taken to ensure that the content in no way resembles traditional advertising. Although the product is to be present in the message, the main goal is to evoke emotions and build a close relationship with the audience.
- Trendsetting — in other words, it is the promotion of a brand through specific personalities. This can be the brand owner himself or an employee of the company. However, it usually involves influential or well-known people who become role models for consumers. The goal of such activities is to create a new trend of consumption.
- Evangelist Marketing — is a method of building strong emotional ties between audiences and a brand, product or service. It involves creating a community that lives the brand, identifies with it and shares its values. Members of this community often share positive experiences of using the products and are willing to recommend them to others. Often such fans of a brand are called evangelists.
- Cause Marketing — is a strategy that is based on the brand’s support of important social issues, such as tolerance, environmental protection or the fight against social inequality. Very good examples here are restaurants that introduce vegan products or companies that reduce plastic consumption. Cause Marketing activities allow companies to gain the sympathy of audiences for whom these specific values are important. This is because brands’ involvement in social initiatives builds trust and earns respect from their audience.
- Product Seeding — a type of Word-of-Mouth Marketing that takes advantage of the influence of bloggers, influencers, and other popular personalities on their surroundings. Most typically, such individuals run their own YouTube channels or have reachable social media accounts such as: Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. Its purpose is to provide these people with free product samples for review. Positive reviews spread naturally, contributing to the brand’s popularity and increasing its reach.
- Community Marketing — is promoting a product or service by participating in discussions on online forums or social media groups. Valuable participation in these conversations is key. Word-of-Mouth Marketing in this context requires subtlety so that group members do not feel that it is merely a tool for pushy promotion.
- Casual Marketing — is a type of campaign that functions like a “supporting actor” in the context of the main marketing campaign. It is designed to support it unobtrusively, without directly identifying with a particular brand.
- Brand Blogging — is a form of blogging focused on a particular brand, product, or service. It is often combined with the practice of trendsetting.
Challenges and ethics in Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-Mouth Marketing, although its form sounds extremely encouraging, can bring companies more losses than benefits. One of the main challenges in WoM marketing is maintaining authenticity. If a promotion seems too directed or manipulative, it can alienate potential customers. Therefore, it is worthwhile to strive to maintain the real value of a product or service.
Another challenge is the risk of negative publicity. Word-of-Mouth Marketing can be a powerful tool, but at the same time, these negative or controversial opinions can also spread quickly on the Internet. Therefore, it is important to be adequately prepared for crisis management and to respond to negative situations.
In addition, understanding the audience is also an essential element. Effective WoM marketing requires a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. If you don’t know your target audience, your efforts may not be effective.
Although the above challenges may seem quite serious, this is not a reason to abandon these activities altogether. Word-of-Mouth Marketing can be ethical and effective, as long as it is conducted thoughtfully and in accordance with the rules. Ethical WoM marketing activities are based on several key principles. First and foremost, transparency is extremely important — recipients should know that they are participating in a marketing campaign. After all, hiding the relationship between the brand ambassador and the advertiser can be controversial, as proper labeling of advertising content is an obligation under ethics and the law. For more on this topic, see Recommendations of the President of the OCCP
Sincerity in recommendations is another aspect of ethical Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Those involved in promoting products or services should be sincere in their recommendations, basing them on real experiences and beliefs. In addition, ethical Word-of-Mouth Marketing implies fair play. Competition is an inherent part of the market, but WoM marketing should not involve unfair criticism of competitors or actions, or sharing false information about them.
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An effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing campaign requires careful preparation and organization to avoid basic mistakes during its implementation. Only then can it, regardless of its form, bring lasting and positive results to the company.
The key element is the idea. Starting spontaneous conversations about a product or brand can be achieved by creating a creative viral campaign. It is important that such a campaign is in line with current trends and the interests of the target audience. It should also arouse emotions and surprise, for example, by sharing unusual opinions or making funny connections. It is significant to create a positive connection between the advertising message and the brand.
In Word-of-Mouth Marketing, it is also worth using natural language, so that our content sounds more authentic than classic advertising messages. Let’s avoid too much linguistic perfectionism, which can make our message seem artificial or automatic.
What’s more, it’s important to use natural language so that our message sounds more authentic than classic advertising messages.
It is also extremely significant to have a thorough understanding of the product or service we are promoting. Lack of knowledge about the product being advertised can damage the credibility of the message and discourage potential customers.
Lack of knowledge about the product being advertised can damage the credibility of the message and discourage potential customers.
It is also worth considering when it is best to use Word-of-Mouth Marketing. It is a solution that works for both large corporations and smaller companies. It’s ideal if your goal is to increase your brand’s popularity and expand its reach. In addition, WoM marketing can positively influence consumers’ perception of a company. Therefore, it is also worth using it in situations where you want to strengthen your brand’s position or compensate for previous unsuccessful business efforts.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing can be an extremely effective strategy for gaining customer attention in a crowd of advertising messages. It is the art of building subtle but effective relationships with users. However, it is important to remember that the key to success is to maintain authenticity and ethics, and to craft compelling narratives that engage audiences in conversations about the brand.
Undoubtedly, it’s worth experimenting with different WoM marketing strategies, discovering which ones are the best fit for your brand and customers. It’s a chance to build authentic relationships and gain customer loyalty in an intriguing and creative way.
What’s more, it’s an opportunity to build relationships and gain customer loyalty in an intriguing and creative way.
She has been involved in internet marketing for two years, but despite her relatively short presence in the industry, she has already conducted advertising campaigns for small and large companies, both on the Polish and foreign markets. He treats digital marketing not only as a job, but also as a passion, which is why he tries to expand his knowledge and skills every day. She joined Up&More in January 2023, where she manages projects in Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Apple Search Ads.