Word of Mouth Marketing - Creating Brand Awareness

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 728 , Published on 08 August 2016
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When you plan to purchase a product or go for a movie, don’t you take the review of your friends or relatives beforehand? Well, I guess many of you do. Every time an individual makes a choice of buying something for themselves or for others, word of mouth comes into play.

First, let me talk about what is word of mouth advertising. It is an unpaid form of promoting your brand where your satisfied customers explain how much they like your brand, service or business to others. It is the most influencing factor to aware the customers about their brand and the company that may lead in generation of more new customers for your brand from your one satisfied customer. 

Let me give you an example, the satisfied user of Philips Trimmer suggests his friends and relatives about the product. This may turn the others into new customers buying that product. Taking this in regard, we can say that word of mouth is a creator of new customers with the help of the satisfied old ones.


Image: pixabay


But is word of mouth only practiced through face-to-face? Definitely not! Due to the emergence of technology and social media platforms, word of mouth is not only restricted to face-to-face interaction but has become broader. The distribution model is widely changed in this segment of advertising. Now it is also done through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc.), blogs, reviews which can be found in different online businesses such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. to create buzz of that particular brand or the company itself.


One of the best example for word of mouth as creator is Dettol. Chinese mostly used Dettol for floor cleaning so the company wanted to drive the idea that it can be used for more than this purpose. So they started a word of mouth campaign in Tier 2 cities of China where less than 10% of people use that product. They selected 4000 high-profile influencer moms in Nanjing whom the 48000 samples were distributed. They were given 10 bottles each to test for themselves and if they were satisfied then to pass it onto their friends. This campaign was a huge success where 46% of the target consumers where reached and the brand awareness increased by five times and sales increased by 86%.

This success of Dettol indicates how word of mouth can be a creator. Not only are the high involvement products or the popular brands like Dettol use the word of mouth advertising but even the local stores that resides in our locality are very much involved in word of mouth advertising. During my summer internship in Oyecity, I conducted market research for my project where I visited more than 300 local shops in Pune market. From the data collected and analysed, it was found that word of mouth advertising was the most adapted type of advertising among the local vendors. Almost 92% of local vendors adopt word of mouth advertising to promote and sell their product in the local market and some in the state as well.

 

Figure 1: Marketing methods used by local vendors


However, word of mouth is not always considered to be the creator and could sometimes act as a destroyer to the company and its product. Let me give you one personal example to support my point. One of my friends was going to purchase a new Hp Laptop but before purchasing that he asked us about our opinions towards Hp laptop and most of us recommend going for Dell since Hp will have a heating issues. So he bought a Dell laptop instead of Hp. This shows how negative word of mouth is affecting your sales. Not only in case of product but also in service sector word of mouth play a major role. I was planning to go for a dinner with my friends so I browse for different restaurants nearby also asked friends about that particular restaurant and that restaurant where I found negative response from my friends who have been there I eliminate the idea of going to that restaurant. Understanding in a simple sense, if there is an unsatisfied consumer of any particular product/service then he/she may start talking negatively about it to their relatives and friends. Moreover, they may also express their dissatisfaction in and through social media which might lead to have a negative impact on the potential customers of that particular product/service. Here, one unsatisfied customer may influence other potential customers into not buying that product without testing it for themselves.


Therefore, word of mouth is the most effective form of promoting your product and persuading others to buy it. It is a no cost strategy (sometimes it may require some investments) which needs to be understood thoroughly by the company to ensure that it adopts best word of mouth strategy or else it might incur negative impact to the brand as well as to the company through negative word of mouth. However, the company or the producers must assure quality of their products because at the end of the day, it is the product that speaks for them!

 

This article has been authored by Prasanna Bhattarai from SIBM, Pune

 

References

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/PqOACgao1xQlVTmRmTEYzN/Word-of-mouth-sends-demand-soaring-for-Pulse-candy.html

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Word-of-mouth-sways-car-buyers/articleshow/45597499.cms


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