Word of mouth marketing has been around long before the dawn of modern electronic communications, and long before the Internet. It is therefore amazing to see that up till today, the two concepts are being seen as mutually exclusive and not complementary to each other.
What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
This form of marketing is often also referred to as Word of Mouth Advertising, which entails the process of actively encouraging and influencing an organic word of mouth discussion about a product, brand, resource, or even a specific corporate message or event. It is then left up to your employees, clients or customers to spread the news and advocate the core message. A more commonly used phrase for this, is to refer to it as viral marketing.
It is well-known that it comes with the pros of being positively embraced if reaching an intended market. It does however have its cons if the message is unclear and has an intended bias to a certain group, whether racial, cultural, sexist, religious, rich, poor etc.
Online marketing on the other hand needs little introduction as we are being bombarded with it daily via websites, social media and other digital media platforms. In more formal terms it is about capturing and extending the customer experience at crucial points. It is also about building a relationship and continuously adapting across different channels in order to reach specific customers.
So where is the synergy between Word of Mouth Marketing and Online Marketing?
The answer is undoubtedly with affiliate marketing which is about selling or promoting someone else’s goods and services and then getting paid for it. This can be either physical goods via Amazon or say digital goods via online marketing platforms like ClickBank. The affiliate simply searches for a product that has high external or personal appeal, then promotes that product or service and gets rewarded in some form or other.
In many instances, companies encourage their workers to inform friends or families about new offerings and will issue discount vouchers etc. The employees in turn will be incentivised depending as per the level of engagement. In this instance, the marketing will most likely be Word of Mouth, but essentially the employee now acts as an “affiliate marketer” for the company.
Online marketing has the potential to make people huge money irrespective of the very differences mentioned earlier i.e. race, gender, social standing etc. It has a very low barrier to entry and a multitude of companies to affiliate with. Another advantage is the global, reach so you are certainly not restricted to only marketing in your local or country geographical zone.
If an affiliate marketer has a very good product and use a correctly executed word of mouth strategy as a free form of advertising, it will cost significantly less than any paid marketing channel. Potential buyers usually tend to search online for reviews and information before making a buying decision. A substantial amount however also relies on friends, family and colleagues before making the buying decision.