Marketing tactics are in constant evolution. But does the Word of Mouth still have impact on our behaviour?
Traditional Word of Mouth
Traditional Word of Mouth is defined as passing a piece of information from a person to another person by oral communication. With the development of Internet, we drift to Electronic Word of Mouth. People were giving their opinion out there for free to prevent others from purchasing a product or service from certain companies.
Brands understood the audience have the biggest influence on the success of a business. They are the ones who decide if you are a go-to or no-go business. Nowadays we can get incentive by sharing our experience with others through cash award, point, rebate…
Pros & Cons
Word of Mouth is the oldest and most efficient way of marketing. When customers are satisfied with a product or service, they are most likely to share their experience with their friends and family who are most likely going to trust their judgment. The idea is not to push the purchase like a marketer would do but share a good experience.
It has few or no cost to the business. If a business decides to offer some sort of incentive like a rebate, it’s a trigger but they still don’t have any control over the message they might share with their entourage. Even if a customer is satisfied by a product, he might not speak about it at all since we usually tend to speak about negative experiences rather than positive experiences. Therefore, Word of Mouth Marketing can also be negative for a business.
Starbucks – When Starbucks opened their first store in 1971 in Seattle, they didn’t invest in traditional marketing. They started with Word of Mouth and the success of the company grew by itself. Starbucks has always had a customer-centric culture. Nowadays Starbucks is still doing Word of Mouth through their social media platforms asking their customers for feedback and share their opinion on Starbucks products and customer services. They want to give a feeling of proximity with their target audience, giving them the impression they are part of a bigger picture, of the Starbucks family.
Coca-Cola – In 1888, Asa Candler promoted this new drink by “giving away coupons for free Coca-Cola to consumers. He then gave free barrels of Coca-Cola syrup to stores reluctant to stock this drink. As customers with coupons flocked to those stores, store owners quickly returned as paying customers.”
When marketers use celebrities as part of their marketing campaign, they want to take advantage of their status and fan base to spread a message or promote a service or product.
Pros & Cons
Some brands approach the wrong celebrities to represent them only because they are in trend now. The service or product they are offering might not be appropriate to the celebrity. Therefore, the audience might not rely on their speech thinking they don’t have authority in this area.
Being idolized by younger people can have a benefit on celebrities, pushing them to be their best selves because someone is looking after them. However, if the celebrity does something wrong since the fan idolize him or her, they might not interpret it as a bad thing.
CoverGirl – In 2013, Katy Perry became CoverGirl brand ambassador exposing herself online and offline. Katy Perry showcases her love for a colorful world and extensive makeup in her video clips and in her life in general. She was approached by the brand to represent the colorful aspect of CoverGirl. First, she was just the face of the brand for lipstick, eyeshadows, mascara, eyelashes and brow products. In May 2016, she launched her lipstick collection “Katy Kat Collection” in collaboration with CoverGirl.
H&M – In 2012, H&M teamed up with David Beckham to launch a collection of Men’s underwear. “The David Beckham Underwear line focuses on fit, function, comfort, longevity and design to present a range of new classics.” This partnership might seem odd at first since we don’t imagine David Beckham having any expertise in underwear. And who would imagine David Beckham working with an affordable brand like H&M? It was a big success for the Swedish company giving the impression people like this handsome soccer player were more approachable and are normal people like us. The collection got expended to body wear and clothes and is now returning each year in the stores.
Crowdsourcing is the process of using collective resources to complete a business task. Marketers are getting services, ideas and content from a large group in an online setting.
Pros & Cons
Crowdsourcing speeds up the content creation process and it’s basically free. It allows you to have fresh and multiple new ideas within reach. However, it is a lengthy process because marketers need to analyze the information they receive to create their own content.
The community feels they are part of the decision process, they can share their ideas with the business. It is not only a tactic that helps your business grow or have a good public image, it attracts more customers.
Nowadays people rely more on ordinary people rather than celebrities because they can identify themselves more easily. People tend to share more often their opinion when they experienced a bad situation, a bad service rather than a high-quality service. Therefore, our opinion can be bias while based on only negative comments. When maybe 90% of the customers are happy and 10% unhappy but willing to take the time to share their experience.
Veronica Mars – In 2007, Warne Bros decided to cancel the 4th season of the TV show Veronica Mars, leaving their faithful fan base hungry for more. In 2013, the creator of the show Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell, who plays Veronica Mars, launched an online fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to produce a movie sequel to the TV show. They originally expected $2 million to created and they ended up raising $4.7 million.
Yelp.com – This website allows everyone to share online their experience about a business. People can rate and leave a comment about the product or service. It’s a great source for other potential customers to evaluate to which business they want to place their trust in.
Social influence happens when someone by their actions changes the attitude, the opinions or emotions of another person or group of people. The communication between business and customers changed drastically. It is now filtered by a group called social influencers.
Pros & Cons
Working on a marketing campaign with social influencers can help marketers to spread their message on a wider scale, faster whiling saving cost and building brand image. People are always looking for a role model. They drift their interest for celebrities to social influencers who looks more like the average man or woman. If their friends don’t have the knowledge in a specific area they will look for influencers with this authority. These influencers become brand ambassadors and can work positively or negatively on your brand image.
Nowadays everyone can be an influencer. Some started this path because they were genuinely interested in sharing content with other people. When some others are only doing it for the success and free products they can receive from the brands. Speaking of free products, when a social influencer receives an item and speaks about it, there is always a question of veracity. Is the social influencer liking the product or is it because they are under a contract?
The ROI of a social influencer marketing campaign is hard to measure. Even if we recognize a certain grow in the sale, we can never assume it is directly linked to the campaign expect if we can track the sales with a promo code or referral link for example.
Influencers are our customers after all. Therefore, they also decide on the success of the brand. At the first wrong move, they can destroy our reputation by sharing our faux-pas across their entire audience.
The influencers want to have total freedom of the message they are sharing with their audience. However, if we manage well our influencers while analyzing their platforms and engagement, our influencers will share the same values we have, leaving as much freedom as they want while communicating with our target audience.
Niomi Smart – In Canada, we have Bell Let’s Talk. In the United Kingdom, MQ Transforming Mental Health just recently launched an awareness campaign called “We Swear” (http://www.mqmentalhealth.org/) about mental illness in young people. To promote their campaign and work, they partnered with various social influencers including the Beauty, now reconverted food and lifestyle guru, YouTuber Niomi Smart whose audience is primarily teens and young adults.
Emily Schuman – May 2015, Birchbox, the beauty box containing sample personalized beauty products, partnered with beauty and lifestyle blogger, Emily Schuman from Cupcakes & Cashmere, giving her total freedom on the customization of the content of a box. Through her Instagram account, she showcased the box and the products she picked. Birchbox created a Youtube video, a blogpost and worked on their social platform to advertise the partnership. “Birchbox was exposed to an enormous, relevant audience. The benefit was both mutual and highly lucrative.”
- Bratvold, David. “5 Ways Crowdsourcing Improves Your Content Marketing” Convince & Convert, http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/5-ways-crowdsourcing-improves-your-content-marketing/, n.d., Web. Accessed 27 January 2017.
- Dougherty, Jim. “9 Word-of-Mouth Campaigns That Rocked” Cision, http://www.cision.com/us/2015/03/9-word-of-mouth-campaigns-that-rocked/, 23 March 2015, Web. Accessed 27 January 2017.
- Lake, Laura. “What Is Crowdsourcing Marketing and How Is it Used?” the balance, https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-crowdsourcing-marketing-and-how-is-it-used-2295467, 19 December 2016, Web. Accessed 27 January 2017.
- Zhu, James. 4 Must-known Stages of Influence Marketing Part 1, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-must-known-stages-influence-marketing-part1-james-zhu, 17 February 2015, Web. Accessed 24 January 2017.
- Zhu, James. 4 Must-known Stages of Influence Marketing Part 2, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-must-known-stages-influence-marketing-part-2-james-zhu, 17 February 2015, Web. Accessed 24 January 2017.