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Monday, April 23, 2012

Going Word of Mouth (WOM)

The world that we live in, we as human beings are exposed to a very large volume of marketing communications courtesy of corporations that want us to spend our hard earned money on their product or service offerings as opposedmto that of their competitors. Due to the volume of information communicated to us through multiple mediums and channels, marketers are always om the look out for ways through which they can break through all that clutter. This is where Word of Mouth marketing comes in and can at times make all the difference in a very competititve environment. Word of Mouth marketing or Word of Mouth for short, though not a new phenomena in the field but has gained significant attention in the recent years. Among the reasons that come to mind include the cost effectiveness of Word to Mouth as a medium through which communication is established, however what really makes it effective is that is user generated communication without any direct asssociation or involvement of the user with the parent company offering the product or service. An element of credibility and authenticity is added to the message when actual users are behind it. Thanks to the age of social media online, Word of Mouth has taken an entirely new dimension, since Word of Mouth is no longer restricted to informal oral communication.Social Media tools such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and countless blogging websites such as Wordpress and Blogspot have played a significant role in enhancing the impact and reach of Word of Mouth marketing communication.

It is not uncommon for one to stumble across blogs online that talk about a user's in this case the blog account holder's personamexperience of using a product or a service. This mention of a positive experiene usually includes a recommendation with regards to the product or service in Question. On the world's largest social media platform Facebook which is home to over half a billion users has tens of thousands of user generated Facebook fan pages dedicated to their favorite product or service. Such pages attract a large following of other like minded users who share the page founder's thoughts on the product or service in Question. The success of Facebook itself was the rest of effective Word of Mouth marketing, which transformed Facebook into a multi billion dollar company from its humble origins in the Harvard dormitory of founder Mark Zuckerburg who today is the world's youngest billionaire.World famous chain of coffee houses Seattle based Starbucks too owes much of its success to Word of Mouth marketing, whereby its patrons independantly communicated their preference for the Starbucks experience to other coffee drinkers.

It allowed Starbucks to achieve its goal of positioning itself as a 'third place' alongside their home amd office in the mind of young urban coffee drinking adults. Before the advent of Starbucks, it was considered unthinkable of people paying a premium price for a cup of coffee to benefit from an enhanced coffee drinking experience. Today Starbucks and its coffee houses can be seen around the world with a fast growing number of patrons. Word of Mouth can also be seen on major websites such as Amazon which is one of the largest online retailers in the world. On Amazon's various websites Word of Mouth appears in the form of buyer generated feedback and reviews ith reards to the product that they have purchased from Amazon. These buyer reviews play a significant role in influencing the purchase decision of prospective buyers of a product listed on Amazon's website. With tens of thousands of products listed on, these reiews act as a very cost effective tool for self promotion. Amazon is also among the few major companies to understand the useful business intelligence generated on their website and capitalise on user generated reviews by engaging its users and getting them to respond to whether reviews and user generated content n their website failitated them in their urchase decision.It is due to the percieved authenticity of Word of Mouth communication that it has attracted significant attention of marketers, and a result of which they make proctive efforts to develop a reltionship of sorts with their audience so that as a by product of that relationship Word of Mouth is also generated. As long as corporations do not interfer with the Word of Mouth messages commnunicated by their loyal users and the message is peecieved to be unbiased, Word of Mouth will continue to play an imporant role in the years to come. The potential of Word of Mouth is limitless, whether the recepients are young entrepreneurs or up and coming designers or performers, Word of Mouth can transform them into notable success stories.

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