Successful Word-of-Mouth Marketing Requires a Blended Approach

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Remember the soft-serve machines with the perfect blend of chocolate and vanilla ice cream? Successful word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is like that. It combines offline and online activities as well as paid, owned, and earned media to build brand and evangelize your community.

Combine Offline and Online

We don’t live in a physical or digital world; we live in a physical and digital world. The one bleeds into the other. When we have a good experience at DSW, we share our joy over coffee with a friend and on Instagram. When our favorite brand responds to us online, we rejoice again. We continue talking with the brand. We share the experience with our friends or family at the dinner table.

Neither of those examples was forced. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help word of mouth along. We can encourage it by focusing on online and offline customer service, fostering community engagement, and creating fun, interactive campaigns.

Consider the X Games. While it’s an offline event, it has a strong online and mobile component. Attendees can use the X Games app to follow contestants, to learn more about the stunts, and to share reactions with the community. People who can’t attend the games can still participate via live video feeds and conversations on social.

Smaller brands can do the same. Big Medium Austin generates interest and builds community by involving people in its upcoming tours. They regularly post information, visuals, and other updates to their social networks. They engage with people and respond to questions, compliments, and criticism.

Wish you had fans who did your PR for you? Join Peter Shankman’s webinar to learn to create Zombie Loyalists!

Blend Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Paid Earned Owned Media - Word of mouth marketing

According to Nielsen’s “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages,” people trust recommendations from their friends and family over advertisements and other branded content. That doesn’t mean we should quit using paid media. We just need to be more strategic with it.

Analyze how paid media could incite earned and vice versa. Is the story compelling? Does it feature a strong visual element? Will it capture people’s minds and hearts?

Paid media doesn’t necessarily have to be clever or new—Cadbury’s Easter ads prove the point—but it does have to resonate with our audience. If we can figure out what drives their interest and motivates them to act, we can deliver a better return on investment (ROI) with paid efforts.

Owned content must also resonate with our audience. What information is valuable to them? What kind of content do they prefer to consume? That’s the content we should create. It’s what will get shared, pinned, and talked about.

If we want to drive more word of mouth, we have to blend the chocolate and vanilla. Bridge the physical and digital worlds. Combine paid, owned, and earned media to achieve results. You’ll see brand awareness and community engagement grow.

How do you increase word of mouth? Let us know!

Featured Image: apasciuto, Paid Owned Earned (Creative Commons)

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.

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