WOM Trumps Digital WOM

There’s no denying the power of today’s digital channels reaching customers.  Digital channels arm people with an almost endless amount of information to help make decisions.  As a marketer, it’s interesting to be part of the evolution of traditional face-to-face WOM into online digital WOM through online reviews, video marketing, social media, etc. 

But, is digital WOM disruptive?  Not quite yet.

Of nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs, 50% of respondents said that word-of-mouth marketing and referrals are where they find the majority of their new customers. Online marketing came in at a distant second, with just 17% saying that's how they find new customers.

That's right: A marketing strategy that has been around for thousands of years trumps social media.

This finding is supported by other surveys like the one done by Nielsen in 2013 on consumer trust in advertising. 84% of respondents from around the world chose "recommendations from people I know" as their most trusted source of information.

Source: Inc. This 1,000-Year-Old Marketing Strategy Still Beats Social Media for Finding New Customers

I’m not surprised traditional WOM is trumping online WOM.  Think about it for a minute.  We’ve all raved or have experienced someone passionately sharing a story about a brand or product experience.  This sharing likely influenced your decision to choose a specific brand, product or an alternative/competitor.  Then, you may have gone online to research it further, but those personal stories often go much further when making a purchase.   Or, you may have started online and then discussed it with someone before making a purchase.  At the end of the day, traditional WOM is often guiding your choices - consciously and subconsciously

I’m not saying this next part to be neutral, but we need both traditional and digital WOM.  Especially in today’s digital world.  However, brand and products need to be strategic and first understand where, when and how customers interact with them along the end-to-end journey and overall CX.  What stories are they sharing with others?  How do those stories influence their decisions?  What if a competitor/alternative is selected?  Why was a competitor/alternative selected and not you?  

By uncovering how customers discuss your brand and product in their own words, you can start to link it to the critical experience touchpoints throughout the end-to-end journey and CX.  You may even find new touchpoints to evaluate.  The powerful part of all this is you co-create with your customers the stories/narrative they’ll share with others on the critical experience touchpoints that best amplify your brand and products. 

This is the power of the thinkTrendless strategic CX instrument and approach – creating customer-centric experiences that activate promoters of brands and products to create the highest Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for your business.  Experiences your most valuable customers are eager to share (WOM) with family, friends, colleagues and even strangers on how your brands and products enable that “something” in their lives - face to face and online.

thinkTrendless, Jeff