The more I work with Internet and help my clients with online marketing the more I believe in the word of mouth marketing powers.
The definition of “word of mouth” changed significantly and not many people actually realize it.
According to Wikipedia “Word of mouth” is defined as:
“Word of mouth refers to oral communication and the passing of information from person to person…”
That is of course true. But let’s focus on the words “oral communication”.
What is word of mouth today?
Obviously, historically “word of mouth” was describing something being passed from person to person by telling – oral communication. And this passing of information happened in person.
But today when people communicate with each other by many more means than just orally “word of mouth” no longer fits in such a small definition. At least not for marketing purposes.
Today, people use emails, Facebook, text messages, Twitter or other digital platforms to pass on information.
So what is word of mouth marketing?
In short, this is the best marketing you can have. It means that information is being passed to someone by another person in a casual way, preferably by someone whom they trust.
If a friend tells me that these running shoes are great, or that car mechanic is the best, I am very likely to follow his opinion since I trust him and he is personally communicating such info to me.
However, notice that I don’t care how the info from him got “to my ears”.
Using word of mouth for marketing today
Now you can clearly see that word of mouth describes a bigger means of communication than just a personal meeting, or oral communication.
What this means for word of mouth marketing today, is that you should consider all communication channels when discussing a use of this type of marketing.
And because channels like email, Facebook, Twitter or text messages most likely communicate information from trusted sources the person receiving them is very likely to believe them.
In all of the above cases you either have a flat out power to approve “the communicator” or the people voluntarily sign up to listen to you, which means they already trust you to some degree.
The big picture – being honest
Since I would never advise a client to pay someone to communicate desired information to their friends then there is only one solution – to be honest.
By being honest I mean that it is perfectly OK to get people talking about you in good terms by simply delivering good products and services. It is also OK to reach out to your Facebook fans with a new offer because they signed up for it voluntarily.
But with today’s word of mouth we have no control over how it’s done. And this shouldn’t be a problem for you because we know it has the same powers as 200 years ago when people actually talked 😉