Rethinking Word-of-Mouth Marketing - I love you

Genuine Word of Mouth

For the purpose of exploring the feeling of love and genuine care in word-of-mouth, I will refer to this derivative of word of mouth as GWOM or genuine word-of-mouth.

In today's fast paced society where business stakeholders expect everything to to happen faster, marketers and advertisers are always pressured to produce results fast. However, the real winners are the ones that are in for the long-term. Genuine word of mouth marketing is a longer term initiative that will guarantee stronger and more sustainable results. It is based on the genuine interest of the consumer to share your product/service with friends and family. In order to do that you need to move up the interaction level to get him/her to love you. GWOM forces marketers to rethink the balance of their marketing mix to put more emphasis on customer retention than they did in the past.

The concept is simple, I dissect customer and business interactions according to two isolated criteria: Love vs Benefits. See chart below:


1. Initial purchase is based on the perceived benefits that the product will offer (put forward through advertising etc...)

2. The company needs to give back some love, genuine love. This is important that it's done right after the first interaction with the customer. Here are some examples:
  • Sending a free add-on that fits your customer's taste without telling him in advance (great for growing businesses)
  • Making your talker look good: give him a discount number to share with friends (good for products that require regular repeat purchases)
  • Make your product exceptional and give it features that customers can and would want to talk about!
  • Exceed customers' expectations through above average customer service exploiting Web 2.0 and email conversations.
  • Turning a complaint or problem into a positive. For example, Apple did extraordinary well when personally sending $100 to every disapointed 4G iPhone owner: see story here.
3. Repeat purchase and loyalty is the way for the customer to send you back the love. At that point keep up the added value offered to them. Simultaneously, the customer will begin talking to his friends about it and the reason a company would want to invest in Jack (original customer) is because each new converted friends will begin his new relationship with the company at a much higher level on the 'love scale'.

Why is Genuine Word of Mouth so important?

  • Endeared, loving customer have a much higher trust level.
  • It costs your company less to keep them informed.
  • Like any mutual relationship, small mistakes can be forgiven and overlooked.
  • It's arguably the most effective marketing tool in the longer term because it creates constructive and mutually beneficial conversations.
  • Increases press visibility (free).
  • Best of all, companies can now treat their customers like friends or family!
  • Keeping this 2-way conversation with your beloved customer now means that you're keeping a conversation going with his friends as well!
  • The communication component of GWOM gives access to the company to free, around-the-clock feedback.
Customer Evangelism? Not really...
When discussing this concept with friends and colleagues, many thought GWOM was synonymous with customer evangelism. It isn't:
  • GWOM is about quality vs. customer evangelism being more so about quantity.
  • There are a lot of people producing GWOM vs. much fewer customer evangelists.
  • The conversion rate of GWOM is higher than customer evangelism.
  • What drives GWOM is genuine belief that the person needs/wants that product/service whereas customer evangelism is moreso based on the benefits that it offers.

In conclusion, I would like to feature this interactive tool I discovered yesterday that tells you how the world feels: It is simply beautiful.

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