Is Word-of-Mouth Overrated or is it the Only Thing That Matters?
Anyone who has spent even a few minutes in the world of marketing has heard the value of word-of-mouth. If people aren’t talking about the brand, the brand has no hope of success. It seems that every effort a company makes is in pursuit of greater word-of-mouth.
But, is it overrated? Is working the word-of-mouth really just a fun little catchphrase that means little at the end of the day? The answer is maybe. The problem is not with word-of-mouth itself. The problem is in trying to reach it.
Word-of-mouth is, in a sense, the only thing that matters. If people aren’t talking about the brand, it is unlikely to sell. But, many detractors are arguing a post-2005 world where the Internet and smartphones are everywhere. Communication has taken on new forms and the traditional usages of word-of-mouth no longer apply.
Of course, the evolution of communication just means that word-of-mouth has taken on new forms. It no longer includes a man speaking directly to a group from a large platform. It is a little more involved. Brands achieve the top elite status (market synonymous) through quality. Everything else is an extension of that. It is a result of doing the best work and making people care.
Marketers should not just strive for the goal of getting people to talk. People will naturally talk if the product is good. They will care and they will tell their friends if the brand is useful, original, interesting, etc. High word-of-mouth is the end result of excellent work. It is not the goal itself but the result of good work. Too many brands ask the wrong question. They ask, “how can we get people talking?” The question should be “how do we get people to care?” Better yet, the question should be, “How do we make a great product that people love?” If they love it, they will talk. This answer may seem overly simple. For individuals engulfed in business promotions, it may seem like it is undermining their work. But, this overall impression will be a powerful way forward in Business promotion and should steer leaders to the right shore.