At a time when ad budgets are being slashed and marketers are running shy of risking their monthly salary on expensive campaigns, it is time to look more closely at an alternative communication route which is both substantially cheaper and is increasingly proving to be substantially more effective. I am referring to Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing.
Turning to friends, contacts and of course the web for views on products or services before purchasing has become increasingly important.
However, in times of recession, expenditure is much more carefully assessed in order to offset greater perceived risks. Brand owners and businesses who recognise the importance of word of mouth marketing within their communication programmes and who are allocating more time and budget to this area are smart. At the heart of word of mouth marketing is the development of a strategy for identifying users who are brand advocates or passionate devotees of a brand, further enhancing the experience for such advocates and then developing tools for these brand advocates to influence potential customers and “spread the good word”.
Many of the big brands are already underway with initiatives with their brand advocates and ways in which “advocates” influence can be exerted on target groups. Brands like Lego and their “Inner Circles” have the added extra that the advocates form a close enough relationship with the brand teams to help shape and influence the brand’s innovation programmes.
This approach however should not just belong to the large corporates. Many medium sized and smaller companies can look at more creative routes for engaging with their most loyal champions in ways which will help to drum up more business.
It is rare to find a customer who has had a really good experience with a brand or business who would deny sharing that experience when asked (in the right way) to do so.
Here at CGA we believe that WOM marketing is key to cost effective marketing in these uncertain times and are delighted to be able to offer access to some of the best practitioners in this field. If you would like to discuss WOM marketing further don’t hesitate to contact me, Elaine Roberts on 01483 202275.