I recently attended a local meeting of the Austin Social Media Breakfast Club where I had the pleasure of hearing John Moore talk about – or more accurately, test us on – the power of Word of Mouth Marketing from his years in leadership roles at companies such as Starbucks and Whole Foods. Based on the findings from research conducted by Keller Fay in June 2009 in the US, I thought John did a good job of testing our knowledge while also incorporating social media and word of mouth tactics into this talk, so I’ll do the same here in this post.
To start, my first question – what is Word of Mouth (WOM) Marketing? Give this some thought and tweet your answer now using the hashtag #smbaustin. We’ll come back to this later.
And now a few quiz questions:
1. 76% of consumers believe companies are untruthful in their advertising – True or False?
2. 68% of of global consumes say recommendations from other consumers are the most credible form of advertising – True of False?
5. 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity on Twitter – True or False?
6. 22% of all brand-related conversations are sparked directly from advertising – True or False?
One of the greatest takeaways for me from this discussion was the power of the total customer experience in reinforcing your brand promise and creating great word of mouth buzz about your company, product, or service. If the brand promise of your company or service is marketed one way, but the real life customer experience is contrary to this, then your brand will suffer. At the end of the day, while having a thoughtful and well-executed marketing strategy is critical, if every employee and every customer interaction is not aligned to the brand, not only is a huge opportunity missed to reinforce the marketing message and strengthen the brand, but likely the brand will be or is already damaged from the broken promise.
This power of real-world customer interactions also reinforces a key finding made by Keller Fay COO Brad Fay in this article by Marketing Daily, “…more than 80% [of WOM] relates to the experiences that consumers have with brands.” So while Twitter and Facebook are all the rage (and they can play an effective, complimentary role in employee, customer and community engagement), good old in-person and phone conversations are still king.
OK, so now for the answers. First, a definition of WOM Marketing. The one I wrote down was “When someone passes along information about a company, product or experience.” John offered this at the end, “The act of giving consumers a reason to talk about your company/product.” He followed this with another take which I thought was very cool – “earning an opinion” – and offered that if you’re doing something polarizing in the market, it’s good. Some will love and some will hate, but you have earned an opinion, and that builds awareness and discussion, which marketers can then turn into action.
Here are the other answers:
2. False – it’s 68%
3 &4. I’ll report on this in a week after the poll closes and the votes are tallied
6. True (which means 78% of WOM is sparked by something other than advertising, such as great customer experiences as noted above)
A big thanks to John Moore, whose talk was as good as his website and blog. For anyone interested in WOM marketing, I highly recommend a regular visit to his site to hear great stories, learn about new books, and be entertained while becoming more knowledgeable. I am getting ready to start reading one John gave to me at the meeting, I Love You More Than My Dog. I’ll report out on it in a future post.