Unlocking the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM)

By Madison Taylor
March 25, 2024

While companies can conduct extensive research to understand customer preferences and achieve success, the ultimate determinant of their success lies within the customers themselves.

No matter what industry your company or business model is in, there exists a force more potent than any advertisement or promotional campaign: word of mouth. Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), often abbreviated as WOM, is one of the most valuable forms of marketing in today’s digital landscape. It harnesses the power of consumer recommendations, transforming satisfied customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. Just as word of mouth (WOM) holds immense power in its ability to influence perceptions of a company positively, it is also a double-edged sword, as a negative remark has the potential to tarnish a company’s reputation in someone’s eyes. 

Here is how to unlock the potential of word of mouth with effective strategies that ignite consumer conversations and cultivate brand advocacy.

Understanding the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is not new; people have been sharing their opinions and recommendations about products and services since immemorial. However, in today’s interconnected world, the impact of word of mouth has been exponentially amplified by social media and online platforms. A single consumer can instantly share their experience with a global audience, making word of mouth more influential than ever before.

In Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed over 28,000 people in 56 countries, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Trust is the cornerstone of word-of-mouth marketing, making it an invaluable tool for brands looking to increase sales and develop brand advocacy with their consumers. 

Strategies for Driving Word-of-Mouth Marketing

So, how can brands harness the power of word of mouth and leverage it to their advantage? Here are some effective strategies to ignite consumer conversations and create brand advocates through WOMM:

  1. Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences: The foundation of successful word-of-mouth marketing lies in delivering exceptional customer experiences. As many know, satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, serving as enthusiastic brand advocates. Brands that invest in exceeding customer expectations at every touchpoint, no matter how small, will reap the benefits. 
  2. Encourage User-Generated Content: User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for driving word-of-mouth marketing. To encourage people to share personal experiences with your company, create contests, hashtags, or other opportunities for people to submit reviews, testimonials, or social media posts. This generates authentic content for you to use in your marketing and amplifies your brand’s reach organically.
  3. Cultivate Brand Advocates: Identify your most passionate and loyal customers and nurture them into brand advocates. Connect with them on social media, respond to their feedback, and recognize their contributions to promoting your brand. By making them feel valued and appreciated, you can turn them into vocal advocates who will actively promote your brand to their networks.
  4. Leverage Influencers and Advocates: Collaborate with influencers who align with your values and target audience. These individuals have built credibility and trust within their communities, making their recommendations highly trustworthy. 
  5. Offer Referral Programs: Referral programs are a tried-and-true method for driving word-of-mouth marketing. By offering current customers discounts, freebies, or exclusive perks for referring a friend or family member, you not only reward loyal customers but also expand your customer base through trusted recommendations.
  6. Create Share-Worthy Content: If your consumers like you, chances are they will share your content if it’s share-worthy. Create content with your consumers in mind. What do they care about? What would they want to promote to their network on their personal accounts? Create content that sparks conversation and encourages sharing among your audience, whether it’s a compelling blog post, engaging video, or captivating infographic. 
  7. Monitor and Engage in Online Conversations: Stay active and engaged in online conversations about your brand. Monitor social media channels, review sites, and forums for mentions, comments, and reviews about your company so you can show you are actively listening. By responding to positive and negative feedback, addressing concerns, and thanking customers for their support, you demonstrate that you care about your consumers, value feedback, and are committed to excellent service.

Closing Thoughts

Word-of-mouth marketing remains the most valuable form of marketing. By understanding the power of consumer recommendations and implementing effective strategies to ignite consumer conversations, businesses can leverage word-of-mouth marketing to drive growth, build credibility, and foster lasting relationships with their customers.