Home  › Social › Social Media

A Three-Letter Word Called WOM

  |  May 23, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Four takeaways on how to integrate word-of-mouth into a long-term marketing strategy for a consumer healthcare brand.

During my discussion with the media agency, I was exposed to a new word 'WOM'. Being familiar with a few three-letter acronyms, this one took me by surprise. On digging deeper, the real meaning of WOM became clearer. According to the agency, WOM or 'word of mouth' was a growing tool to influence consumers about brands. Having been a diehard fan of Amazon reviews for the last 10 years, the concept of WOM resonated with me on a personal level; however, I was unsure of its use as a marketing tool.

The agency went on to share that an average consumer is exposed to between 1,000 to 3,000 brand messages in a day. Therefore, consumers tend to have less trust in advertising from  faceless organisations vs. recommendations from real people. This finding is corroborated in the 2009 Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries, where acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online (like Amazon.com) are the most trusted forms of advertising.

Encouraged by this potential of WOM marketing, we decided to set up a test and learn from a brand that we had recently launched. Our target audience were women between the age of 28 and 35 who were looking to enhance their beauty via contact lenses. To run this project, we decided to partner with BeautyHeaven.com.au, an Australian website that provides a platform for women to share information about beauty and health products. The website has over 40,000 members and a database with over 70,000 consumer reviews.

The key objective of the test and learn two fold. First, we wanted to seed concept of the brand and monitor the conversations around it. Second, we wanted to encourage members to try the brand and share their experience with the community via a competition. Fortunately, the editor of the website was a user of our brand and was happy to kick off the discussion forum on the website and announce the competition. The winning review was decided by the votes of the website members.

The WOM test and learn generated around 15 reviews and 50 entries to the competition. More importantly, this activity generated the following learning to help define the role of WOM in our long-term marketing strategy:

1. Create emotional conversations: Emotions are at the heart of a WOM campaign. Emotional conversations are a lot more valuable vs. neutral feedback since it gives you an opportunity to understand what consumers are really saying about your brand to their friends and family.

3. Go beyond the reviews: The reviews generated through the WOM activity are very useful for your future marketing campaigns. With 70 percent of the consumer trusting content on the brand websites, having consumer reviews on the brand site is a great way to answer questions and provide reassurance. Agencies like Bazaarvoice can help integrate and channelise these conversations with your brand website.

4. Avoid using traditional metrics to measure success: It's best to treat the test and learn to generate findings to fuel your long-term strategy rather than looking at it with traditional metrics as sales, ROI, awareness. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has created measurement and research framework, which is the first step in formalising metrics for WOM marketing.

The need to share information is ingrained in us. It's not surprising that storytelling has been a quintessential mode of word-of-mouth communication. As marketers, the more interesting and emotional we can make our brand stories, the more likely our consumers are to tell them!


Subscribe to ClickZ Asia to receive your weekly dose of the region's latest trends, tips, and insights straight to your inbox.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!


Mandeep Grover

Mandeep has over thirteen years experience of building brands with blue-chip organizations like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer across FMCG & Medical Device categories. His latest assignment is to launch a newly acquired medical technology start-up business across Asia-Pacific.

Mandeep is a recognized expert in integrating emerging media to drive business results. In 2007, he led the launch of one of the first branded apps on Facebook. The app was a finalist at Cannes and won the highest recognition for marketing excellence in J&J. In 2009, he pioneered the launch of the first iPhone app in J&J, which was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald as an example of innovation.

Mandeep has spoken widely on social media, mobile marketing & multichannel marketing at conferences across Asia-Pacific. He writes regularly for ClickZ and has been a judge for the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Awards for Marketing Excellence.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.




    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...