Powerful Word of Mouth

Joe Bush wrote an amazing piece for the Path to Purchase Institute on the power of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM).

KEY INSIGHTS:

“Gone are the days when ‘word of mouth’ was simply a free benefit to deserving brands.”  Bush reports that WOM marketing is now an increasing part of companies operational expense.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association defines WOM as ‘any business action that earns a customer recommendation.’  Online, offline, promotions, in-store activations, etc. are all different campaigns designed to spark positive WOM.  These campaigns use brand ambassadors, but often times the ambassadors will work for product instead of money.

 

Bush writes about effective WOM marketing campaigns highlighting Nestle USA’s creation of hype.  The brand was participating in Walmart’s Ice Cream Social sampling event – Nestle wanted to create buzz before the event, and drive even bigger numbers to the sampling event.  Using a collaboration of 110 bloggers, Bush says, “the result was a 37% sales lift over the six weeks from Memorial Day to Fourth of July.”

 

Shopper marketing manager for Nestle, Andi Pratt, told Bush, “shoppers are more and more engaged in user-generated content, whether it be from people they know or people they don’t.  Those are heavily weighted in the decisions they are making every day.  It doesn’t feel as forced… Brands that are able to do social in a genuine way will start to stand out.”

 

Key Insight #1:

Genuine Brand Ambassadors = Sales Lift

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Dell, Inc. knew genuine Brand Ambassadors were important, but they also know that training was just as important.  Dell currently uses more than 100 paid Brand Ambassadors across the country to promote, present Dell products, as well as manage its online presence.  In just a year Dell watched 135,549 people like them on Facebook and 388,827 follow them on Twitter. Dell and its marketing team knew that this program would only work if the brand ambassadors were the “right fit.”  Location, knowledge of town, connection to campus all played a major role.  Monthly brand messaging meetings kept ambassadors up to speed and focused on trackable goals.  Dell University brought the company to the local level – instead of hoping the students would go to them.

 

Key Insight #2:
Local Brand Ambassadors = Greater connection to customers = increase in sales.

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