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Word-of-Mouth Roundup 2019!

We’ve spent the last two months exploring the many facets and intricacies of word-of-mouth marketing. From social media influencers to brand evangelists to perfecting your shareable story, we tried to hit all the most pertinent and salient points. Below you’ll see the best of the best from our adventure—quotes, articles, and reflections during our journey…

We’ve spent the last two months exploring the many facets and intricacies of word-of-mouth marketing. From social media influencers to brand evangelists to perfecting your shareable story, we tried to hit all the most pertinent and salient points. Below you’ll see the best of the best from our adventure—quotes, articles, and reflections during our journey into the wide, wide world of WOMM.

What now? Now, it’s time to move on. For the next two months, the TopRight blog will explore a brand new topic: business to business branding and storytelling. It promises to be as exciting and insightful as our last foray into word of mouth—so don’t miss a thing. And if you haven’t yet, please sign up for our blog now. (Or give me a shout on Twitter or LinkedIn any time.)

Without further ado, the 2019 word-of-mouth roundup!


CEO Dave Sutton wrote about what happens when we share more.

“Did you know that 10% of the world’s population convinces the other 90% to do something? The people within this 10% are called influencers, and they’re people who move others to action. Influencers find great joy in sharing their experiences and stories because of the impact it will have on other’s lives. They stash away stories and bring them out when they believe somebody in their social universe will benefit. A WARC study defines influencers as ordinary people who are more likely than average to share ideas and recommendations. You need not find them online, nor start your own YouTube channel. The ones that matter are out there IRL.”

Principal Judi Friedman wrote about how millennials don’t want to hang out with you.

In order for word of mouth to actually work, brands need to create real relationships between and among real people. They can do this with influencers (defined as people who are driven to share stories with their friends and family) who, if they believe in the brand story, will integrate it into their own personal story library. These sorts of people who believe in something—a product, a cause—will authentically share the info with their friends and colleagues. People are then moved to share and consume based on the authenticity of that sentiment. In other words, they are influenced to act in the marketplace.

Hill Scott wrote about how Threadless nails offline marketing—via online marketing.

“According to CNBC, 58% of small business owners identify word-of-mouth marketing as the most effective way to communicate with customers. This is a result of the fact that a reported 83% of consumers have a great deal of faith in suggestions from their friends and family over those of advertisers. So why don’t more businesses actually do word-of-mouth marketing? The short answer: it can be tricky… [b]ecause word of mouth, unlike some other marketing strategies, isn’t simply a widget you jam into your branding machine so that it will start coughing up better results. You have to be something of a marketing artist, you have to be willing to put the customer in the driver’s seat and let the market take you to new and interesting places.”

Chris Weissman wrote about Burger King’s attempt to get people talking.

“WOMM has been around for forever, but it’s built significant momentum over the past decade driven by the proliferation of digital marketing. The basic premise is to get customers talking about you and share their experience with your product or brand. Therefore, WOMM is relatively inexpensive and often quite effective. Some facts that tend to interest marketers: In 2018, Nielsen reported that 83% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising; beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts; and 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. But today, only 33% of businesses are actively seeking to enhance their word of mouth efforts.”

Bill Fasig wrote about the ways in which the consumer views your brand.

“Perspective is what determines actions. This is why the most powerful approach to marketing is the story that allows you to personally connect with your audience.  A story that speaks to how you can deliver unique, often aspirational experiences that impact their lives. Why? Because, ultimately, all truly successful marketing is not really about you at all, it is about your customer and the lens through which they look. The best marketers are moving in this direction quickly, away from transactional “facts and figures” product marketing and leaning into stories about real customers, real aspirations, real outcomes. The kind of stories that can actually change perspectives about what is possible. The question is: how far do you go in telling a story based on what you think are both your and your customer’s aspirations that you can realistically and credibly speak to?”

And check out these rockin’ supplementary pieces from around the Internet!


E-Poll Research on the hidden dangers of online influencers:

“A recent Forbes article explains how influencer marketing as we know it may already be coming to an end.  With countless self-proclaimed influencers endorsing products on social media, many have started not only to lose credibility among their followers, but data shows that they might not be as influential as they portray themselves to be. Shocking.”

Forbes on direct mail marketing:

“Integrated with new media, savvy marketers are discovering that direct mail is more powerful and return on investment-positive than ever, especially for microtargeting new customers and deepening relationships with existing ones.”

Refinery21 on Instagram’s new policy regarding “Like Count”:

“Content, not likes, is what’s driving the train. There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the validity and effectiveness of a brand’s campaign. We also look at story engagement, follower growth, and attention metrics like video completion, audio on or off, and valid and viewable impressions.”

Referral Rock on the statistics that demonstrate the power of WOMM:

“Whether you come to your decisions based on reading online reviews, hearing a restaurant mentioned by your favorite blogger, or hearing a friend squeal with joy over their new car. You are likely to be influenced by your decision one way or another. People rely on their surrounding network more often than they realize.”

Campaign on the quick and dirty truth behind the scenes of online influencers:

“For years, brands have been focused on the simplest of arithmetic—more followers equal more eyeballs and more eyeballs equal success. This has led us to put the mega-celebrity influencer with 50 or 100 million Instagram followers on a pedestal. And, while it is true that this person can bring us visibility, that doesn’t mean they provide the most value.”

Down to learn more? Follow me @toprightpartner or visit Judi Friedman on LinkedIn. If you still need another fix, why not grab a copy of my new book,  Marketing, Interrupted.

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