March 21st, 2013
Our agency is a proud member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). If you haven’t heard of WOMMA, I recommend you take a look at their website, and browse some of the content they have developed. (In case you missed that, you’ve just been WOM’d.)
All kidding aside, word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective communications vehicles of all time. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you heard a rave review about a new product from a friend, family member, spouse, colleague or acquaintance, and didn’t at least Google the name to take a look? That is the power of WOM in action.
While it isn’t new news that word of mouth recommendations are effective (here is some research if you need proof), a recent video from one of our favorite beers, Heineken, got me thinking. Many of us think of Heineken as just a brand of beer. But, a recently developed video showed a whole new side of that brand, the people and their personality. The video centers on a fun search for an intern from a pool of more than 1,700 applicants.
Did you click on that link? I’ll bet you did. While that click-through may not immediately make you feel you’ve been marketed to, think about what you wanted to do immediately after watching it. Did you IM it to a few co-workers and friends? Maybe even post it to Facebook or Google+? If so, the video is serving its purpose. Even though you weren’t sending something that directly tied to the beer itself, passing on Heineken content is essentially the equivalent of recommending the beer itself to your peers. You have just helped make their WOM campaign effective. Are you thirsty for a Heineken now? I know I am!
While consumer brands have no problem seeing the benefits from word of mouth marketing campaigns, B2B organizations struggle more with quantifying the ROI. This isn’t because word of mouth marketing can’t have a positive impact for those in B2B. It’s more about the longer selling cycle than that of consumer brands. B2B technologies are far more complex (you aren’t just buying a pack of gum or shampoo) and the sales process involves many more stakeholders.
So, how can B2B organizations use word of mouth marketing techniques and campaigns? We only need to look to back to the Heineken example for something all B2B companies can capitalize on – tell your company’s story.
Many B2B companies often place a tremendous amount of focus on telling their product story and often far less on telling the company story. This is a huge opportunity missed. Telling a company story isn’t just for vanity. In fact, if done in a creative way, it can lead to greater brand awareness and a better understanding of the company and its people, thus making it more memorable, approachable and engaging. In the end, B2B word of mouth marketing campaigns around a company’s story further implants the brand in peoples’ minds, giving you a greater chance of being considered in the next sales cycle. While ROI requires a longer time in this scenario, it does often positively impact the sales funnel.
McGrath/Power has seen the power of WOM first hand for both our B2B and B2C clients. Two examples, respectively, include the SMART Storage Systems NAND Band campaign (website, Twitter, YouTube) and Burgerville’s BV-TV campaign, because we were able to move beyond the product to show a new side of the company and the faces behind the brand name and products. Both initiatives spurred discussion at the industry and customer levels, ultimately gaining the client additional mindshare and traction in new conversations. What more can you ask for?
– Derek James