Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Word of Mouth Marketing in Internet 101 (WOMM 101)

WOM = Word of Mouth

WOMM: Word of Mouth Marketing

According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Word of Mouth Marketing is defined as:

"Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place"

Uhh?? … Sorry but … Isn’t that definition, in one way or another, just the goal of almost any advertising marketing campaign?? … I was a bit disappointed. After not so careful consideration, I decided to research a bit on the subject and share my opinion in this post.

Basics of Word of Mouth

To start, I went to see WOMM Wikipedia’s definition and things got a bit better. Some of the things that are very descriptive about word of mouth marketing mentioned on this definition are: WOMM is more credible than other forms of marketing and that deliberate efforts to fake or generate WOM using deceptive practises, usually don’t work out (or have the opposite effect: negative WOM)

To that, I could add the following about Word of Mouth..

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) has always been considered one the most powerful marketing techniques. It has three main characteristics that make it very different from other more traditional marketing channels:

1.- Very difficult to control
The usual way that all marketing campaigns go is FROM the advertising company TO the end consumer. The company tries to communicate something through advertising, whatever the marketing goal might be: brand awareness, increasing consumption, change from a rival brand, etc. If the end consumer “buys” the message, then the campaign has achieved its goal. The powerful effect that a WOMM campaign has is that it’s based on the premise the company will not be the one transmitting the message, but another consumer. Anything transmitted from one consumer to another about a product, a brand or a person will be many times more effective than something transmitted directly from the company…. And that is exactly is where the risks and rewards lie: the message transmitted will be much more powerful… but you can’t control it…

2.- If successful, it might be the most effective marketing tool
The outcome in a TV/Radio Ad campaign can be very predictable. It might be better or worse depending on which media is bought or on the creativity of the campaign but the final outcome in terms of sales tends to be unsurprising. On the other hand Word Of Mouth Marketing campaigns can result in tremendous successes or incredible failures, given that WOM can be extremely positive or terribly negative for a company.

Some examples of very effective WOMM Campaigns are the iJam 5Js and the “Yo amo a Laura” (see video below)

Examples of WOMM campaigns with terrible outcomes, mainly for trying to fake WOM, are the Subservient Chicken and Josh Friedman’s blogging about the movie “Snakes on a Plane”.

3.- If successful, it might be the most Cost-Effective marketing tool.

Usually, the best WOMM campaigns are very cost effective… if successful. Some of the best campaigns start with a blog post from a very recognized and influential person, a kind of “Homemade” video on YouTube, an e-mail or some other way of viral marketing. The production and media buying cost of these marketing channels is generally much lower than producing and airing a TV Ad, or o buying tons of pages in specialized magazines.

On part 2 of this post I’ll continue with my view on What are the basic elements for a successful Word of Mouth Marketing Campaign.

Copyright MBA Internet Marketing Manager

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