Based on decades of experience, the most successful and seasoned marketers will tell you that Word Mouth Marketing (WOM) is the most powerful form of advertising — period. What is WOM?
The concept is simple. WOM happens when a friend or family member tells a person that Product X is great. Then they say something like, “I would buy it if I were you.”
Although hard statistical methods find it difficult to measure this form of promotion, there is no doubt that such a recommendation is extremely likely to lead to a sale.
The reason is that people naturally trust people they know to recommend a product. The same cannot be said of traditional advertising. We are all conditioned to mistrust institutional advertising because we know that some company or corporation trying to sell us something is likely to fudge the truth a little — or a lot.
Thus, we have all been trained to deploy our “internal editor” when it comes to confronting traditional advertising. But when a pitch for a product comes from a trusted friend, that internal editor is completely shut off.
Over the years, savvy marketers developed ways to implement word-of-mouth campaigns. There are specific ways to ignite the process. Today, however, word-of-mouth marketing means doing so on social media and through the digital channels that most people are paying attention to all day.
That means smartphones. So how are WOM campaigns handled through these devices? There are several ways, but one of the most important is the KOL. That stands for “Key Opinion Leader.”
Everyone reading this already knows a least one and probably several KOLs. They are simply those people you watch on YouTube, Tic Tok or follow on Instagram and Facebook who are showing you products and recommending them.
A good example is all those cooking channels on YouTube. When you search for a video on how to make scalloped potatoes, many of the videos you find will be made by KOLs. These people develop their own following and fanbases. Some of them, such as Chef John of Food Wishes, have millions of followers. If Chef John shows you a recipe and recommends Dish Brand A — millions of people will see it. Furthermore, they like and trust Chef John. That means they will go out and buy products he uses or recommends.
It’s a powerful and unstoppable way to sell a product. It’s word-of-mouth advertising Digital Age style. You might also call it: Word-of-Mouth Marketing 2021.