Word of Mouth Messages

May 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

It is pretty clear that power has shifted from large marketing organizations to consumers. The McKinsey Quarterly calls it, a “tectonic power shift toward consumers” (David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik, “The consumer decision journey,” mckinseyquarterly.com, June 2009). There is a lot of room for conversation around WOM advertising, WOM spread, influencers, and media types. In all of the conversation, one factor seems to be a constant — the message itself is key to a successful word-of-mouth program. In order to be effective, a great word-of-mouth message must…

  • Resonate with your target audience — that is, it must…
    • Use the words and phrasing common to members of your target audience
    • Adjust to constantly evolving lingo, abbreviations and acronyms such as lmao, and :o)
  • Communicate the idea in the fewest possible number of words that still gets the idea across so that it is…
    • Easy to remember
    • Easy to pass along
  • Be specific to various segments of your audience — 20-something lingo just doesn’t work for more mature members of your target audience
  • Be appropriate to the communication channel — Facebook fans may require a different message than people looking at your website
So how do you get such a message? Is it a message that can come from inside the four walls of your marketing department? I don’t think so. Certainly some sort of customer input is called for here. Traditional market research is one proven method to get the proper sample and results for your WOM campaign. There are also some new tools that help both researcher and marketer to understand what people are saying such as the many social media monitoring tools available today.
One thing that might help focus the results is a blend of research and social monitoring. This might cut out all of the extraneous information and help marketers focus on the main question, “If you were going to recommend abc company, what would you say?”
The response to this question, along with some segmentation information, can take you a long ways toward the message you need.

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