Word of Mouth Marketing Association has shared an infographic which, if true, will have you saying; "Sure, I knew that." The impact of in-person face to face word of mouth conversations will not change. In fact, face to face word of mouth will continue to remain more credible.
As the Internet and mass media integrate into one, there will be little differentiation between the two. Just as the consumer has become callused to the traditional outbound marketing, online advertisements will be added to the list of advertising to ignore.
Companies with long term strategies in place are already thinking in terms of how people share offline and online. Word of mouth is top of the list. Social media tools provide another method to click and share a website page in the blink of an eye. Will word of mouth with social media tools be as credible as offline word of mouth? In essence when you think of word of mouth online, think "social media".
In place of word of mouth is "word of search engine". There are search engines such as SwagBucks which pay the consumer for searching. Getting paid to search might be more appealing than listening to someone else give a recommendation.
If you are a business owner and about to give up offline marketing to replace it with online marketing, you may want to re-think your plan. The infographic below shows how word of mouth offline has more credibility than online.
Pay close attention to the top two influencers for making a decision: Word of mouth and information from a website. If you have one but are missing another, you are probably losing ground.
Source: WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Association
What is needed in your marketing plan is a strategy that includes both online and offline marketing activities. One of the most important aspects is: "Give them something to share".
Notice that when people are sharing "brands", it is about something positive and most likely about the customer service. If that is the case, then it is a no-brainer for how to gain the best advantage with word of mouth marketing:
"Go overboard to ensure happiness and satisfaction even if sacrifice is necessary." To accomplish this, it is more about training, culture, mind-set and execution than it is about ordering an advertisement or tweeting.
It may be time to think more seriously about including execution excellence as part of a marketing plan. Then ask "How many customers were overjoyed with the service?" That is where word of mouth would start; "OverJoyed Customers".