Some companies spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars on traditional marketing; including ads, TV spots, e-blasts, fliers and more. But could the most effective form of marketing actually be free?
According to Jonah Berger, the author of “Contagious, Why Things Catch On,” the answer to that questions is “yes.” He argues that word-of-mouth is more effective than traditional advertising for two reasons.
First, Berger explains it’s more persuasive.
“Advertisements usually tell us how great a product is. You’ve heard it all — how nine out of 10 dentists recommend Crest or how no other detergent will get your clothes as clean as Tide. But because ads will always argue that their products are the best, they’re really not credible,” he said. “Our friends, however, tend to tell it to us straight. If they thought Crest did a good job, they’ll say. But they’d also tell us if Crest tasted bad or failed to whiten their teeth. Their objectivity, coupled with their candidness, makes us much more likely to trust, listen to and believe our friends.”
Second, Berger argues word of mouth is more targeted.
“Companies try to advertise in ways that allow them to reach the largest number of interested customers,” he said. “Word of mouth, on the other hand, is naturally directed toward an interested audience. We don’t share a news story or recommendation with everyone we know. Rather, we tend to select particular people who we think would find that given piece of information most relevant.”
So how can you harness the power of word of mouth marketing? According to Berger, to do so you must understand “why people talk and why some things get talked about and shared more than others.”
Over the course of the next couple weeks I’ll address this concept, and hopefully help you harness the free power of word of mouth.
Rachel Zabonick is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com. Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.