Word-of-mouth (WOM), which is usually attributed to buzz marketing, is a traditional method of spreading information and news about products, businesses, and services. The growing proliferation of the internet, social media, and electronic commerce have made WOM one of the most important factors when it comes to digital channels.
By using electronic WOM, marketers not only get access to a sizeable population of consumers but also ensure their marketing message is spread quickly. Unlike traditional WOM, electronic WOM allows marketers to monitor and analyse the buzz in an easy and convenient manner.
In turn, consumers tend to use online WOM – like review websites and social media – to make a more informed purchase decision. In case you are wondering whether marketers should not rely on offline WOM anymore, the answer is no!
From this article, you will know why traditional WOM still remains one of the most influential elements in regard to customers as well as their communication about certain goods and services.
When it comes to collecting information to make an informed purchase decision, we tend to rely on both online and offline word-of-mouth. We are searching for reviews and other consumers’ experiences online as well as suggestions from our family members and friends.
Interestingly, the assumption that electronic WOM is much more popular with consumers as compared to traditional WOM is far from the truth. Actually, according to a study by Convince & Convert Consulting, the overall volume of conversation online and offline is similar. Furthermore, American consumers value offline WOM 41% more in comparison with online WOM, according to the study.
Even though social media remains an important source of WOM, most word of mouth still takes place face-to-face. As much as 83% of Americans rely on a WOM recommendation from a family member or friend when it comes to making a purchase decision. It is because face-to-face communication is considered by consumers as more positive in tone and more credible. Nonetheless, you should not underestimate online WOM due to its ability to reach a bigger audience.
Offline conversations, according to a study by Engagement Labs, drive up to three times as many sales as online, which clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of traditional WOM and its superiority over digital WOM.
Unfortunately, traditional WOM is not easy to drive since marketers are unable to target influencers and brand advocates as easily as in the online environment. Nonetheless, marketers can still effectively employ offline WOM as a marketing instrument to generate buzz and stimulate consumers’ purchasing intentions.
Tips for Better Offline Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Here are some tips that can help marketers make their offline WOM stronger and more effective.
1. New product sampling
You can take advantage of offline outreach at restaurants, bars, parties, and other social events through new product sampling. By offering product samples, you can increase exposure and provide potential customers with the opportunity to get a taste of your product and leave them wanting more of it. If they like it, they will definitely share their thoughts and impressions with their friends and family members.
2. Customer relationship management programs
You can also generate positive offline WOM by introducing a sound customer relationship management program. For example, by adding a personal touch to your customer contacts, you can enhance the experience of your customers and contribute to their satisfaction with your goods and services. Satisfied customers will always be your brand advocates who spread positive WOM.
3. Using offline and online WOM in collaboration
Perhaps, the most valuable piece of advice that can be given is to ensure that your offline and online WOM approaches and practices play hand in hand. A study by Engagement Labs indicates that a large share of face-to-face conversations is driven by online content. Therefore, it is important to ensure that a company’s cross-channel marketing strategy is designed with a holistic consumer conversation and sharing approach in order to maximize its effectiveness and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Although social media is increasingly considered to replace WOM as the driver of consumer awareness, conversations about brands, goods, and services still mostly happen face-to-face. Offline WOM remains one of the key factors that drive sales, and marketers should rely on this type of buzz marketing to survive and prosper.
Ellie Richards is an online Marketing Manager for PhD Writing company Original PhD. She specializes in research, content, and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.