Word of Mouth Marketing

Using peer influence to grow your brand

Every brand loves word of mouth marketing, but most have no idea how it works.

If you think WOM means doing something outrageous and inflammatory, you’re probably a charter member of the Tea Party and not a really effective marketer.

The first fact you need to remember is that Influencers are diverse.

Forrester’s Marketing Forum presented research this spring that placed influencers into three broad types: Social Broadcasters, Mass Influencers, and Potential Influencers.

Think of it as a pyramid.

There aren’t many Social Broadcasters but these are the very people who have the most followers, looking to them for the latest and newest trends and gossip. Think Perez Hilton or Ryan Seacrest – millions of followers.

The problem with Social Broadcasters is trust. Followers will check out their links and listen to their recommendations but still canvass their own personal sources before they buy or join.

Social Broadcasters are most effective in building awareness, but don’t think you can reach them with press releases and mass mailings. They want to be respected for their following and feel your respect as part of an on-going relationship.

Mass Influencers are also a small group but they produce the majority of ‘influence impressions’ because of large networks and more trust than the Social Broadcasters.

To reach Mass Influencers, give them something to talk about, to blog about, to share with their friends and family.

Potential Influencers hold the most trust because the people who follow them actually know them and have learned they are trust-worthy.

This group is not very tech-savvy, so make spreading the word about your “special” as easy as possible. The key to reaching them is giving them real, undeniable deals that are relevant to their lives and the lives of their friends.

Logically, the higher the cost of whatever you’re selling, the closer the relationship must be for WOM to work.

Each group is distinct, and needs a distinct strategy if you want Word of Mouth to be a big part of your marketing plan.

The good news is, when you have a remarkable product, and you’ve thought through, and funded, a real marketing plan, Word of Mouth is a natural part of that process.

Think Apple.