Word of Mouth Marketing
You would have heard this concept very frequently. Word of mouth is all informal customer to customer interaction that is not controlled by the marketer.
Now the definition of word of mouth is right here. You can see and read the definition of word of mouth and advantages and disadvantages with examples to understand the importance of word of mouth.
Advantages of Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth is generally compared with advertising and other sources of the market are controlled ways of reaching out to customers.
Word of mouth is essentially all informal communication that you get to hear from your friends, from your family members, from other people who don't have necessarily a reason to talk to you about a product in a good way or in a bad way.
Word of mouth is all the product reviews that you see on social media.
It is all the product reviews that you see on e-commerce platforms on amazon.com, on Flipkart, on Paytm, on any of these e-commerce platforms.
You will see that there are product reviews available. Now, most of these product reviews out there, of course, I'm not saying all product reviews, but most of these product reviews are uninfluenced organic inputs given by customers who have either used the product or seen somebody else using the product.
Now it is much more relevant and much more credible than advertising that is out there because when generally a customer sees an advertisement, the customer has a feeling that this advertisement is out there to influence me to go and purchase the product that is being advertised.
A word of mouth, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily have such a motive. Word of mouth is generated by customers who have used a certain product and have found that product to be useful and have told me that this product is extremely great and extremely useful, so I had attached greater credibility to word of mouth.
I attach more importance to word of mouth as compared to the other forms of communication or information available to me.
I generally have a tendency to go to e-commerce platforms and look into word of mouth before making a purchase decision.
So all of this information that is out there in the digital space, specifically information that is known as word of mouth, is extremely critical in how the customer goes about, making the purchase decision.
And this is one essential thing that has changed the way in which consumers make purchase decisions.
Earlier too, there was a lot of word of mouth out there. Customers attached greater importance to word of mouth, but with the emergence of digital technology, word of mouth has now taken center-street.
Example of Word of Mouth Marketing
For example, earlier say 20-30 years ago, if you wanted to buy a car, you would have spoken to a few friends. You would have spoken to one person who's either an expert in automobiles, who works in an automobile company or is a mechanic nearby, to understand which the best car out there is.
You would have heard from these people. All the information that you heard from these people would have come to you immediately, you would have forgotten it in some time. Your family members, your friends, other people would have heard from you. They wouldn't have necessarily got this information directly.
So, the reach of word of mouth was very limited. Word of mouth was very spontaneous. There was no way by which you could remember all of these exact details about the vehicle and talk to somebody else, but with the emergence of the digital space, word of mouth has unlimited reach right now.
You write something on Facebook, probably 3000 of your friends hear about. You tweet about this, a few million people hear about it.
You put it up on amazon.com or Flipkart or any of these e-commerce platforms, every single customer who comes to that platform is now viewing the certain content that you have provided.
So the reach of word of mouth has become exponentially high. Word of mouth is extremely, extremely fast propagating.
You would have seen a lot of viral campaigns recently. You would have seen a lot of campaigns which basically have been started by consumers and which basically are spread like wildfire.
You talk bad about a product. You remember there was a product, a noodle product in India recently, a few years back, which basically pulled off the shelves because of the controversy.
Such negative word of mouth spread much faster. So although word of mouth has always been there, it is with the emergence of the digital space, that word of mouth has now taken center-stage.
Digital Word of Mouth Marketing
Apart from this word of mouth, the entire marketing context has also changed drastically with the emergence of the digital space.
Let’s see how digital space has completely altered and completely changed the way marketing operates.
Say, for example, the reach has exponentially increased with the emergence of the digital marketplace. Earlier you had a limitation with respect to how many customers you could reach. You had a limitation with respect to how many customers could come to your retail store. You had a limitation on how many customers view television or read a magazine or read a newspaper.
Today, you basically have let go of all of these limitations. You can basically reach out to any customer anywhere in the world who has access to the internet and access to a platform or a device that can access the internet. So the reach has become exponentially great.
The second thing is you are today able to reach customers throughout the day, any time of the day. Earlier, customers had to wait for office timings, had to wait for the time that the shop was open and only on these times you were able to get to the customer or the customer was able to reach out to you.
Today you basically have a 24x7 operation. The customer can come to an e-commerce platform at any point of the day, any time of the week and purchase the products that they are looking for. You don't need to necessarily have the kind of people, staffing the e-commerce platform because most of these things are automated today.
Earlier, it was very difficult for us to gather information. If you had to have some information about what customers thought, what customers behave or what things customers were thinking, it was very difficult for you because you always had to have those long surveys that you had to take to the customer and gather a lot of information from the customer as part of your marketing the search activity.
But today all of this has become much easier because everything that the customer does on a digital space is now trackable. You have access to a lot of data. The customer browses from website A to website B you are able to see what the customer has been doing. The customer comes to your e-commerce platform and looks for a certain product. You know that this is the customer who was looking for this particular product. You know that the customer is also going to these other websites.
You know that the customer has a social media account where the customer is connected to 10 other people, a few of whom could be influencers whom you can use to reach out to this customer and motivate this customer to buy.
You also have options wherein new business models have come out. The entire e-commerce industry has come out wherein you are able to sell a lot of products which traditionally you were not able to sell, because a traditional retail space has limited shelf space. You couldn't sell a lot of products there.
Today, with e-commerce, you are able to sell many more products through these channels. So the entire way in which we do marketing, the whole of the creation, communication, delivery and exchange of value has completely transformed with the new technology, and with the emergence of the internet.
Now, that we have understood the definition of word of mouth, advantages, and disadvantages of word of mouth marketing and how word of mouth marketing context has changed drastically with the emergence of the digital space.
Read also the complete marketing concept and step by step guide of marketing on our blog for a complete understanding of digital marketing.
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