Word-of-mouth marketing

What’s the Buzz All About?

“Tell a friend!” My earliest memory of a word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) campaign was for Alpha Beta grocery stores in 1977. It featured Alan Hamel, the chain’s spokesperson, inviting TV viewers to talk about the grocery store to their friends. 

Word-of-Mouth, and so on …

The next memory I have is for Fabergé Organics shampoo with Heather Locklear in 1984. She claims to tell two friends, who tell two friends, who tell two friends, and so on, and so on about how great the shampoo works. The multiplier is shown with a grid growing larger with more and more photos of Heather Locklear. 

This campaign is lauded for its catchy tagline, a beautiful celebrity endorsement, and the demonstration of how a message can spread easily through word-of-mouth marketing. Nowadays we call it virality. 

Repeat and Referral Remain the Two Top Ways to Get and Grow Your Customer Base

Chatter is what you want, so ask for it. 

According to HubSpot …

  • 90% of people believe brand recommendations from friends. 
  • 70% believe consumer opinions. 
  • Products that have received 50 or more reviews, experience 65% higher returns than those who have less than five reviews. 

Social media can be your best friend when the talk is good. When you have a new customer, ask for referrals, online recommendations, and to share your content on their social media accounts with an endorsement. 

Social media can also be your worst enemy if there’s a complaint. Address negative comments as soon as possible so it doesn’t spread quickly, and so on, and so on. Reading an apology with an offer to make it right shows you care and voids the foul. Follow-up internally by correcting whatever caused the negative comment. 

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits iavailable now on Amazon.

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