Marketing 101 taught me that word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing promotion. Beats your traditional tri-media, and add to that web ads.
If positive, this comes as a personal testimonial from a very satisfied customer, recommending the product or service to friends. Of course, you will put more weight on a trusted friend’s recommendation than an endorsement from an actor or a guy in doctor’s robes right? If negative, this is much more devastating since someone in your circle is sharing a very bad experience, and you’re likely to believe in this more than just chismis from somewhere else which might be a mere smear campaign, or you dismiss it as an isolated case. But not if it happened to a friend!
Indeed I agree that word of mouth is much more powerful than TV, radio and printed ads. Even better than web ads most likely (the ones that pop-up, or displayed on the side etc). But in the emergence of social networking sites, this effective word-of-mouth promotion has gained a newfound strength, probably a lot more times stronger than before.
This evolution of word-of-mouth through the internet is what I’d like to call word-on-web. Simply word-of-mouth on the web. Good or bad publicity from those who express their sentiments via web. Or in more recent internet lingo, viral, trending.
Pretty much similar to word-of-mouth where a firsthand experience is shared, except that mode of scattering the news is not via oral tradition, but simply via a few posts and status messages and tweets. Firsthand experience, whether good or bad, shared a hundred times faster, to a wider potential customer base. That’s the evolved word-of-mouth strategy for you.
In this day and age, the presence of word-on-web is a double edged sword for product and service providers. Their images and customer perception can be improved, or ruined, by a significantly higher number of people, in a matter of just minutes.
This, cannot be done by the old school word-of-mouth. At least not in the same pace, coverage and magnitude.
So I’m sure more and more products and services are now relying on creating a positive word-on-web. And careful not to piss-off a blogger or a facebook/twitter addict.
And lastly, because of this, marketing has once again evolved to a whole new level as products and services strive to generate positive word-on-web. Hence almost all products now ask their target market to like them on facebook or follow them on twitter. To allow for more opportunities to share a positive word-on-web.
And competition, naturally, has grown a few notches tougher.