The “secret” of Word of Mouth

Every single company I have worked with understands how important WoM (word of mouth) is for their business’ steady growth. There is nothing more efficient, stronger and viral than WoM in the same way there is nothing more destructive than negative WoM.

Now, the problem relies when teams try to achieve word of mouth as a goal, as a marketing initiative or even as a specific marketing channel 🤦‍♀️ . 

Word of mouth is actually the consequence of achieving success in 3 specific areas:

  1. Product or service quality. 
  2. Customer care.
  3. Growth MKT efforts: getting people into the funnel (from attention to loyalty).

The reason why WoM is so successful for growth is because it is real and not manipulable.
WoM is often confused with referral mkt and these days even with influencer mkt but they are not even close.
You can create referral systems for your business, you can give away as much recompense as you want hoping that people’s greed will be stronger than what they really think of the product.
You can pay huge influencers hoping all their followers will follow their recommendations on your product.

Those are legit marketing channels and initiatives that are part of increasing different blocks of the conversion funnel in their own ways.

But real & powerful WoM comes from people’s need to share their knowledge. It’s the same reason why people go around talking so much about veganism trying to convince others, it is the same reason why people used to knock on doors trying to convert people into their religion, or politic believes, or why when you find a product “that changed your life” you share about it with your friends. 

It is instinctive human behaviour, when we find that something works & we think it is great, we want the rest of “our people” (our community) to adopt it, in order to have better chances of surviving as a pack.
At the same time, people listen first and foremost to the ones in “their pack”, “their circle”, “their community” and the reason is the same; as an instinct that’s how we (as animals) use to transmit knowledge (which berries to eat and which berries can kill you), literally life saving information would be transmitted from one to an other inside the pack all in order to survive. This is why we instinctively listen and trust people around us much more than any “influencer”, TV or digital advertisement. 

Now that you have hopefully understood the reason for WoM’s power I hope you are able to build a business strategy that acts on the 3 main points:
1. Great product/service that actually solves a problem or a necessity.
2. Great customer experience (from the usage of your product to your customer care when things go wrong*)
3. Growth Marketing strategy to fill your conversion funnel from grabbing people’s attention to earning their loyalty.

*customer care: few people understand how big of a role customer care has on growth and marketing efforts. 

Your product doesn’t have to be perfect (no-one’s product is) but your customer care has to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G because that amazing customer care is what will turn a unsatisfied customer into a free ambassador of your brand.

Is not about what you say but HOW you say it, and how you fix it and how you make your customers feel when they ask for your help. 

Also, taking their experiences and feedback into account. The most efficient product management is when customer care complaints are actually mapped and weighted into a product roadmap.

Listen to your customers and your WoM will develop as a consequence on its own. 

Published by Ale Arce

Founder & Managing Partner. Business strategist with passion for business growth & development. As Chief marketing officer of several companies from e-commerce to financial services she has experienced what is needed to grow your business in this digital era. She worked at Facebook for several years in product marketing for different regions. Also, worked at the fastest growing startups in latam including Linio.

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