One thing marketing and advertising executives sometime do is limit their area of creativity. They create funny TV ads, thought invoking print ads, mind blowing billboards, and creative and animated online ads, but fail to look outside the “box”–being the TV, piece of paper, computer screen, etc. Wouldn’t a company like to fall right in the middle of their target consumers’ conversations? This is what we call word of mouth marketing, (WoM). Exclusive research findings by PQ Media, released November 15th, reveal that the actuality of these creative minds to utilize WoM has grown. This is seen in the findings that spending has
“jumped 35.9% in 2006 to $981.0 million and is expected to top $1 billion in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing alternative media segments. “
According to Keller Fay Group, a word of mouth research and consulting firm, there are 3.5 billion conversations about products, services, and companies’ marketing and advertising initiatives each day- and that’s just in the US! Furthermore, 80% of individuals say they trust their friends’ and families’ recommendations on the products, resulting in more sales simply via word of mouth marketing.
So, what’s the difference between word of mouth and viral advertising or marketing? Although sometimes used as two completely separate terms, they are fairly similar. Some entities even use the terms interchangeably.
Word of mouth marketing, is a reference to the passing of general information and recommendations by verbal means, in an informal, person-to-person manner. Word of mouth mediums include face-to-face spoken communication, phone calls, text messages, blog posts, message board threads, instant messages and emails.
Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing consumer relationships to produce increases in brand awareness. It facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.
Viral marketing is often seen as more of an electronic process, referring to emails that incorporate a “Send to a Friend” link, a website article or online video that you send to a friend via a provided link, etc. Word of mouth, in contrast, would prefer to the more conversational aspect of it. After the viral marketing is carried out (you send a cool video to a friend via email, and they receive it), the word of mouth portion begins, which involves you and your friend discussing the video, increasing the possibility that you will continue to discuss the topic.
Viral marketing would not always end with word of mouth marketing. For example, if you receive this article from a friend and simply delete it without either reading it or discussing it. As you can see, the differences between the two terms is slight, but quite apparent.
To read more about Word of Mouth Marketing and the brand new Marketing Forecast Report, read on!
Also check out Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, a brand new book released November 1st of this year. If you’re looking for some place to start with Word of Mouth Marketing, begin here! Written by Andy Sernovitz, Cheif Executive of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. A foreword by Seth Godin, a best selling author of marketing books and brilliant individual. I encourage anybody interested in Word of Mouth to check it out!
So, as we have seen, word of mouth marketing is one of the fastest growing and most effective areas of the marketing industry. Why aren’t you using it yet? For more resources on how to implement a word of mouth campaign, or questions on the topic, feel free to contact me via email or by posting a comment to this post. Keep Talking!