Word-of-mouth marketing is more important than ever in a world where social proof is everything. An unhappy customer is going to tell a lot more people about their experience than a happy customer.
Imagine you’re driving along with a friend. You’re just cruising... and all of the sudden a song comes on the radio. You have never heard the song before but you love it and you ask your friend if they know who sings the song. Your friend raves about the artist and how he “loves this guy’s music”. He gives you the artist’s name and tells you where to find the latest album. Chances are, you’re going to look the artist up and if you like the album enough, you’ll buy it on iTunes. Fast forward a few weeks after you’ve bought the album… you’re driving along with a different friend. The album is playing in your car as you drive. Your friend really likes the album and asks you where they can find it. You tell them the story of how you came to find the artist and his album and explain that you’ve been listening to it on repeat since you bought it. This is the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool which a lot of brands and companies fail to use correctly. Countless statistics exist for the impact it can make on individuals and their purchase decisions. According to Neilson’s Harris Poll conducted in 2016, more than 80 percent of Americans rely on recommendations from friends and family when making purchasing decisions. This means the vast majority of Americans will either choose your brand or not based on what their trusted advisors have told them about you and your brand.
We have seen it time and time again. From a negative tweet to a bad amazon review. A bad recommendation has the potential to completely put an end to the relationship with a client. So why would companies ignore this immense negative impact? The answer can only be that they are either not connected to online/social realm or they simply do not care. Brands who fail to listen to what is being said about them will feel the consequences almost immediately. They’ll start to wonder why they don’t have any new clients coming in…. And why current clients are becoming less and less interested in their services or products. After all, how many times have you seen a bad review or negative comment online and decided to go with a different purchase instead? More than once right? We thought so.
In a TEDTalk at the London Business School, Chris Cowan addresses the growing importance of word-of-mouth marketing and how social media has only increased the need to pay attention to what is being said. “With a click of a button any of us can share our opinions and experience with loads and loads ofpeople and then, critically, they might share those with other people again...and that's very, very powerful economically, socially and politically it can make presidents, it can tear down regimes, it can raise millions for charity.” Social sharing is an everyday gauge of where your brand stands with the public. It is a guide on how to form your actions and it lets you know just how connected you are with you consumers.