Word of Mouth
Abstract Word of Mouth is free marketing and advertising tool. So word of mouth isn’t just for multinational companies with huge marketing budgets. It’s for small, medium and large companies which can handle the word of mouth successfully. In this essay I have elaborate the Modern Marketing, word of mouth, how marketing can be still influenced by word of mouth and Advantages and Disadvantages of Word of mouth.
Word of mouth is the passing of information from person to person by oral communication. Word of Mouth is a marketing tool for not only small businesses these days; it is working for medium as well as large businesses in 21st century. The study of marketing changed a lot in pass few years. When we compare the marketing styles and influences in 1950’s and now, there are major differences occurred such as technology development, high competition, environmental factors, ethical issues etc… even though the styles, factors of influences and methods changed in history, we can observe that Word of Mouth still influencing the modern marketing. Word of Mouth is what people or consumers talk about your product, service, business or event. It can be both ways positive or negative.
If they talk about you positively you are in great success, in other hand if it is negative you are in deep trouble. We can see lots of organizations who do not care about word of mouth, and make their self in trouble to close down the business. So it is important that every business do their research on WOM marketing and observe what people think about their product or service. “Treat people well, and they will do your business for you, for free”, people love to talk, people always talk and share about products and services with their friends, relatives, co-workers etc… this make your product or service to be the number one. Even though you spend lot on advertising and promoting activities and do not satisfy your customers, definitely the view on your product will be negative and whoever they meet will say “don’t buy this product”. Because of word of mouth, an organization faces both advantages and disadvantages. This can make the organization to success or to failure, so these advantages and disadvantages should be considered when deciding on whether to relay on WOM as our primary method.
What is Modern Marketing?
Marketing has been viewed traditionally as a business activity. According to American marketing Association’s marketing is the activity, process and set of organizations or institutions for communicating, creating, delivery and exchanging offering that have value for customers, partners, society and shareholders etc… Other definition of marketing involves in exchange process. This includes at least to parties buyer and seller, where they give up something of value and receives something of value. Now we are going to discuss how these marketing activities adopt to Modern Marketing. As people begun to adopt the techniques of work specialization and development of technology, Organizations and individuals emerged to a need to facilitate the process of marketing and exchange process. Hundred years back Marketing was sited more on non advertising process, physical distribution, more monopolistic etc… but in 21st century mainly because of life style of people and significant development in technology made marketing other way round. Also we can evidence the development of modern marketing through three stages, 1. Production Era (Produce as much as possible)
2. Sales Era (Convince customers to buy what you have)
3. Era of Marketing concept (Give customers what they want)
In early Days most organizations concentrated on producing many good as possible, both quickly and efficiently. They did not think about what the customers Demand and what will satisfy them. For example Henry Ford’s widely quoted saying about the needs of automobile buyers “They can have any color they want as long as it’s Black.” It’s Reflects the thinking of most business at that time. Because the motive was on producing products largely and not satisfying customer’s needs.
After world war one and great depression in 1930’s businesses realized that no longer did everything they produced sell automatically. Then manufactures realized that they should give much attention on advertising and more aggressive personal selling. These tactics did not last for long because public pressure caused problems against high-pressure sales techniques and false advertising. So a new approach to marketing was badly needed.
The Marketing Concept Era
“Then in the 1950’s marketing concept emerged.” As a business philosophy, the marketing concept is all about customers. The aim of marketing concept is become focusing customers in every department. So this concept was approach Firms in three ways, such as Customer focus, Coordination, and Profit Orientation. In 1990’s marketing concept was developed by calling Relationship Marketing, where it’s suggests that organizations want to form long term relationship with customers. Therefore firms will not stop the relationship with the customers after a transaction also they will focus on satisfying and retaining customers based on developing a long term relationship. (The Concept of modern Marketing, American Management Association, pp. 1-16)
Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of Mouth marketing has the power to quickly build up or tear down the reputation of products, services or any organizations. As I mentioned in introduction “people love to talk”. The only one thing we should do to get positive talk from them is providing the right product at right time in right quality and satisfies them. Word of Mouth is about earning that good conversation and talk. It is not a matter you’re selling computers, stationary or jet engines, definitely people will ask others about you, before they deciding to purchase the product. Because customers turn to people they trust first, may be friends, family, co-workers etc… So to market a product through word of mouth we should give a reason to talk about the products and should make it easy for that conversation to take place.
Word of Mouth Marketing is more than just marketing. It’s about making your stuff and your company worth talking about. Although many brand stories are shared offline, Word of Mouth also spread very fast through social media. In order to increase the power of word of mouth Organizations needs to understand the importance of this intangible and often elusive form of marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing applies for any size of businesses, we don’t have to have a hot website, to be in a good industry, innovative new technology etc… Also we can make it work for a small store with low or no Budget. All we need to do is, give something people o talk. (Andy S, 2012) ,( George S, 1942)
How to generate Word of Mouth?
1. Building Trust
Trust is the main reason for strong personal relationship, the same goes for relationships with products and customers. The driving forces behind consumers decide to share positive stories about organizations or firms are the trust they have in their products or services. Trust cannot be build overnight. We need to provide the quality and should wait till customers talk about you. The best way of building trust, make a promise and make sure you deliver it. The classic example is customer service, the customer service department in every organization should make sure they meet or exceed the service expectations they created with customers. Fail to deliver this promise will result in wrong kind of word of mouth. 2. Understand the Technology.
Word of Mouth cannot be only face to face. It can be through online chatting, emails, phone calls etc… Every minute customers talking about your products, here firms should understand as quickly as positive talk get exposed, negative word of mouth seems to travel even faster. So brands needs to understand the growing role of technology and its ability to aggregate exaggerate and distribute individual voices. 3. Respect Customers and fulfilling their expectations.
We should give our customers something to talk about, to do this show them the quality in products or services and treat every customers with respect. Slightly exceeding their expectations just won’t do it. You’ve got to go above and beyond the call of duty if you want your customers to talk about you. 4. Physical and nonverbal statements or activities are most dependable in creating word of mouth. These statements can be Architectural, Kinetic and Generous, but they must go far beyond the boundaries of what’s normal. To make effective word of mouth we need to mix Architectural, Kinetic and Generous there these are the flour, butter and sugar. We need to put these rich ingredients into the mouth of our potential word of mouth ambassadors. 5. Do not promise it in Ads.
Although it’s tempting to promise the thing we are counting on to process word of mouth, these promises will only eliminate the possibility of our customers becoming our ambassadors. Because they already fed up with the advertisements shown in television, net, radio etc… So we should think, why would a customer repeat what we are saying in our ads? We should allow them to deliver the good news in their own by impressed with our product or services.
Word of Mouth in various Time Horizons
Word of mouth can occur over different time horizons. Immediate Word of mouth happens soon after people first learn about or experiences a product. Someone might tell their friend about a movie they saw recently or a shirt they just bought. Ongoing Word of mouth, in contrast, is the product mentions that occur in the weeks and months that follow. Someone might mention a movie they saw last month or a shirt they bought last year. While immediate Word of mouth is certainly important (example- building product awareness soon after a new release), most brands also care about the volume of Word of mouth a product receives in the long run. Consequently, encouraging ongoing Word of mouth should be particularly important for product success. Further, knowing when certain aspects of products lead to more Word of mouth can help inform marketing plans over the course of a campaign.
Is still Marketing influenced by Word of Mouth?
Yes it is. this project is all about to show that the word of mouth is more
important than other marketing tools. Because if word of mouth had been around forever. There must be lots of reason why marketers suddenly began to talking about it. Yes, it’s involved from anecdotal to actionable, from something occurred to something you can influence. Word of Mouth has become the fasted growing form of marketing because we now have the tools, experience, and knowledge to do with it. Until a few years ago, we thought that good word of mouth would just happen on its own. You could have a special sale or do some simple publicity stunt and hope people would talk. Now we can move with customers who want to talk about us and help their ideas reach a new audience. We can provide a basic platform so more people hear and listen what our spectators are saying. We can use the internet to give far more visibility to a conversation that has always been happening. We’ve also gained the ability to track and measure that conversation. Thanks in part to blogs and the web such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Google+ etc…; we can see who is saying what about us. We can listen to the conversation and understand it. We can figure out who is talking and why they are talking. It’s not such a wonder or mystery anymore. These days, we’d do it a little bit of differently. We have to announce the con-cert on the web. We’d email a note to people who blog about products or services. We should put the invitation in an email so it could get easily forwarded. We should try to hire a band with a big social media following, so it could get its fans to show up. Also we should use all those cheap and easy things that get lots of people talking. There are some rules for create and generate Word of mouth in Modern Marketing. 1. Be interesting.
2. Make it Easy.
3. Make People Happy.
4. Earn Trust and respect.
Nobody talks about boring companies, boring products, or boring ads, especially in 21st century. If you want your customers to talk about you, you’ve got to do something better and special. It can be Anything which your customer like. If you and your products are boring, you will never get a moment of conversation. Your word of mouth will fall flat on its face. In other words it will be negative. Before you put up an advertisement, before
you produce a product, before you write something new on the menu, ask the magic question: Would anyone tell a friend about this?
Make it Easy.
Word of mouth is very much lazy. You have got to help it along if you expect it to go to customers in anywhere in the world. Make your topic or phrase smaller and unforgettable. Such as, “Stupid name but it sure does work”, “they have chocolate cream cheese!” etc… We all think of Steve Jobs as the greatest computer marketer who ever lived. So what did he do when he returned to Apple in 1996 with the mission of reviving a stumbling company? Did he talk about great software? Stable operating systems? No. Jobs’s great marketing insight was pink and purple computers. It got everyone talking. It restarted positive word of mouth about the company. Everyone told a friend, because they had a simple topic of conversation that was interesting to share. And when people heard about the cute computers, they were ready to take another look at the more important features. So make your customers to talk easy and comfortable. Then you need not to advertise, on behalf of you, your customers will do that.
Make People Happy.
Happy customers are your greatest friends of an organization. We need to make them thrill. Create amazing products. Provide excellent service. Go the extra mile. Make the experience remarkable. Fix problems. Make sure the work we do get people energized, excited, and eager to tell a friend. When people like us, they share you with their friends. They want to help you, they want to support your business, and they want their friends to enjoy what you offer. You will get more word of mouth from making people happy than anything else you could possibly do.
Earn Trust and respect.
Trust is more important for positive word of mouth, to get that we need to respect our customers. Nobody talks positively about a company that they don’t trust or like. Nobody puts their name on the line for a company that will embarrass them in front of their friends. We should make our customers proud when they tell about our company to others. Always be an honorable and respectable company. We should make ethics as part of everything we do. Be good to our customers. Talk to them. Fulfill their needs and wants.
How can we use Word of Mouth effectively in Modern Marketing?
Sometimes word of mouth is an accident, sometimes it’s a well planned strategy. Either way, certain basic elements should be used in both occasions. According to Andy Sernovits the Author of Word of Mouth Marketing Book these elements are the five Ts: Talkers, Topics, Tools, Taking Part and Tracking.( Andy S, 2012) 1. Talkers: Who will tell their friends about you? 2. Topics: What will they talk about? 3. Tools: How can you help the message travel? 4. Taking Part: How should you join the conversation? 5. Tracking: What are people saying about you?
Talkers: Who will tell their friends about you?
Talkers are any form of people who has the trust on you. Talkers are ordinary people, they can be your customers, relatives, friends etc… talkers love to talk about your products or services because they rely on you product and like to help their friends. So you need to find out who are your talkers, and should give them something to talk. Once we found the talkers, our next challenge is to give them a topic.
Topics: What will they talk about?
Word of Mouth starts with a message that can spread and long lasting. That can be positive or negative, so we need to carry a topic which good enough with clear ideas that your customers or talkers can repeat easily. Once we find a topic we should be motivate our talkers to give them tools to encourage their conversation.
Tools: How can you help the message travel?
Even a positive word of mouth needs a little help to be spread. So as word of mouth marketers we need to impact and provide infrastructure helping and make sure massage travels. Recent growth of word of mouth as a marketing
technique is largely because of the tools that we provide. Also we should provide tools that can help making massage move faster and faster. For example, online services, coupons, free gifts etc… once we have created the tools to accelerate the massage, the next step is to keep that conversation fresh and fast moving by take part in it.
Taking Part: How should you join the conversation?
Once you related to word of mouth there is no way to return back. When you reach to your customers and encourage them to talk about brand, they expect you to participate. Once we get in to their dialogs our next target is track the conversation and learn what people talking about you.
Tracking: What are people saying about you?
Tracking is very easy and convenient in modern marketing, because the major development in technology. We can find every comment about our products or services in blog messages, massage board, facebook etc… so our next challenge after tracking is to learn to value this word of mouth and to use it to build a smatter marketing plan and a better company.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is always a nonpaid advertisement. Also word of mouth happens when customers promote your company and products by telling others about their views on your products. In cases where the organization strongly establishes on their products or services that can make a positive effect on your business. In other hand if your product or service did not satisfy your customer, you are seriously under trouble. So in Word of Mouth, Organizations have both Advantages and disadvantages. ( www.ehow.com , Pros and Cons of Word of Mouth Marketing)
The biggest positive and plus side of word of mouth is its cost effectiveness. Word of mouth usually doesn’t cost anything. If we take other
marketing styles to example such as media, promotions etc… They cost a huge amount for the organization. Only the cost incurred in word of mouth is the effort we put to satisfy our customers. Always satisfied customers like to talk about the purpose why and which made them to satisfy.
Effectiveness of recommendations
One of the other major advantages that word-of-mouth has over other forms of marketing is the inherent power of recommendations. People are more towards to trust recommendations from family and friends rather than the own advertisement of organizations. More companies are recognizing the importance of the effectiveness of recommendations and are going the extra mile to keep customers happy and willing to promote their products and services.
Encourages Better Products and Services
Since word of mouth relies on loyal customers to promote products or services, organizations have to keep their customers happy and satisfied. To do this, they can’t produce goods and services that are not up to standard or value. So this makes firms to produce only the quality goods which is good for both customers and organizations.
Strengthens Brand Image
Organizations that have realized the great potential in word-of-mouth marketing continually strive to stand out from the crowd, rather than be one of many. The driving force behind this marketing strategy has led companies to focus greater efforts on building customer loyalty, since it’s through loyal customers that word-of-mouth advertising is successful. The more customers are encouraged to be loyal to a product or service, the greater the level of promotion they do for it, something that enhances the company’s brand image.
Even though the word of mouth is no cost, it’s often slow to spread. It takes more time to tell others about the product or services, and that can make longer to build the report with customers who will then recommend our product to their contacts. But with modern technology we can overcome this by simply use electronic word of mouth such as post information on blogs, facebook, twitter etc…
When we use word of mouth as a marketing tool, it’s very hard to collaborate with lots of clients at the same time, so it will limit the potential clients in a given period. The limiting factor is that the organization will likely only reach out to those who come into contact with on a fairly regular basis.
It is very difficult to track the amount of business generated by word of mouth. While you can ask incoming customers if they have been referred and, in general, how they heard about your company, this gives you only information about people who responded positively and the information is generally scant. Gathering information about those who were told about your endeavor but chose not to take a further look is not reported to you. You need this type of information to know how successful the marketing has been so you can make marketing plans
Negative feedback effect
As positive word of mouth creates a good image for a business, it is hard to believe what will happen if a customer tells negatively about your product or services. Also we will not be aware when this occurs unless the unhappy customer informs that she or he is not happy with the products. So we should be very careful not to leave customers spread negative word of mouth.
It is important that every organizations and firms who like to become successful put forward their self to involve in word of mouth. Although word of mouth has lots of advantages and it is free, but it is not so easy to get the word from public especially positive word of mouth. Firms should face
some sort of hard work to get positive word of mouth from their customers. Word of Mouth Marketing is not what is known as stealth marketing, in other words lying to people and get the positive word of mouth from them. Yes, it can be done for just a small period, when people get to know you are a faked company it’s very hard to get the positive word of mouth, even though this time you come out with truth and quality product. Marketing has a long history. But in every place of that history word of mouth was strong enough to make a firm in to success or to failure. Word of mouth has a great impact on our business than we think. Because we use different techniques that can be used to energize customers and get them talking, for example of techniques we use promotions, free gifts, and vouchers etc…So Word of Mouth effect and influence every part of the firm when we do whatever for improve or establish marketing. It’s true that public will talk about that. But in the same time companies should work hard to make that positive and effective for the business. Especially in modern marketing world, businesses should be more careful because public can contact each other from various countries through modern technology development. So it’s true that every factors influence the modern marketing, as long as majority from Word of Mouth.
 Andy S, 2012, How smart companies get people talking, Word of Mouth Marketing, Chapter 1, pp. 3-36  George S, 1942, Hoe to trigger Exponential sales through runway Word of Mouth, The secret of word of marketing, 2nd ed, pp. 4-24  The Concept of modern Marketing, American Management Association, pp. 1-16  www.ehow.com , Pros and Cons of Word of Mouth Marketing
 www.entrepreneur.com , Word of Mouth Advertising
 www.socialmediaexplorer.com, Word of mouth Marketing
 Word of mouth advertising: Marketing-made-simple.com