Word Of Mouth: Just how powerful is it?

Posted on: September 11, 2013 by WYD Media

Category: Uncategorized

Word Of Mouth: Just how powerful is it?

So, how important is word-of-mouth (WOM) to your company? Well let's just say there are over 3.3 billion brand impressions by word-of-mouth daily in North America with 76% of marketing-related conversations taking place in person. The rest is happening over the phone, emails, instant messages, online blogs and social media.

Which raises the question, what is your company doing to have a strong presence and promote "healthy" word-of-mouth conversations?

It is important to understand WOM in order to make strategic marketing decisions because:

1. It gives you an extensive view of your brand "Allies and Enemies". How much do consumers discuss YOUR company versus your competitors?

Note: 66% of brand references are favorable, so don't be afraid to engage in the conversation!

2. It gives you a clear perspective of which channels are driving talk. What media or marketing contacts are leading the conversations and what can be leveraged to drive more buzz?

3. It helps you target your marketing messages. Who is talking about your company and which influencers should you target?

4. It helps you see whether your messages are resonating. Is your current marketing strategy leading consumers to strongly recommend your company?

WOM is not just about creating a buzz - it can also lead to sales. Leading consulting company McKinsey & Company cites that marketing-generated consumer-to-consumer WOM generates "more than twice the sales of paid advertising".   

When determining your company's WOM strategy, consider the total customer experience, advertising through media or marketing, as well as online and offline touch points with your brand.

Marketing and print, specifically, play an important role in driving WOM. According to Kelley Fay Group, nearly 25% of consumer brand conversations are driven by point of sale, promotions (coupons or samples) and by direct mail and email.



In his book Word of Mouth Marketing; How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Andy Sernovitz lists five ways that you can join the conversation and keep it going and growing.

1. First off, find the conversation. Use the tools that are at your disposal, such as search engines and social media websites, to see what is posted on mainstream websites and message boards. There are also specialized search engines that look at blogs, and set up real-time alerts for new posts. Be alert and receptive in any situation when someone could be talking about your company.
2. Reply and respond every chance you have. You must make yourself available to talk to customers directly, wherever they want to reach you. The only way to mess this up is to fail to participate at all.
3. Thank those that have nice things to say about you. You can do this by leaving nice comments for the writer on a blog or message board. This goes a long way and makes it more likely that the original commenter will become an active talker.
4. Fix problems and make people happy. Customers complain in public because they want your attention. By apologizing or offering to rectify a problem or complaint, you will stand out from the rest and become an instant word of mouth topic. This ties directly to good customer service and gets people talking in a good way.
5. Participate. Just joining in and being a regular and positive contributor is the best possible thing you can do. Take the expertise you have on your product or brand and share it with the world.


The best part about implementing these tips is that they are free and you can start today! It’s exciting because everyone can take part, its makes money, and in turn makes businesses more honest and ethical. Happy conversations!


Adapted from a presentation given by Keller Fay Group, a Word of Mouth Research and

Consulting Firm, for Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)

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