Literal rant here. Going to drop these from time to time since I know not everyone has time to read a 2,000 word opus every week. No images, no headings, just what’s on my mind (in 750 words or less). A bite-size blog, let’s call it.
If you follow me or the DGMG account on Twitter, LinkedIn, Insta, etc etc, you know how much emphasis I put on word of mouth when it comes to growing your brand.
And it’s for good reason. WOM is (and always will be) the #1 marketing channel. That’s not my opinion — that’s a fact. But too many marketers don’t want to accept that reality. Because word of mouth is hard to quantify as a nice statistic for a board meeting, or measure against your quarterly goals when reviews come around.
However, the reality is that word of mouth drives most buying decisions. Empirically, it makes sense right?
Think of the way that you buy. Like you personally. Think of the way you would buy a toaster. Are you going to walk into a Target or Best Buy (does Best Buy still exist?) and ask the salesperson to give you the best toaster they have, no questions asked? No, because you don’t know anything about it. Maybe the salesperson just wants to give you the most expensive toaster they have. Maybe they’re being encouraged by corporate to push a certain type of toaster because it’s not selling very well or they’re running a sponsored promotion with a certain brand.
What you’ll do is go onto Google or Amazon and start hunting around for toasters. More importantly, you’ll look for what people have to say about the toasters. You’re going to pull up an article in Good Housekeeping ranking the top toasters of 2021. Or scroll through the Amazon reviews on a few promising options to see if the toaster has all the features you need, if it gets too hot on the outside, if it smokes when you try to crowd it. By the time you’re ready to make a purchase you might as well have designed the thing yourself.
It’s a silly example and one derived solely from the fact that I was looking at my toaster when I started to write this, but it is exactly how the buying process works today. Brands don’t fully control the narrative and dictate buying patterns anymore like back in the pre-Internet days. Now buyers have all the power. We can determine the success or failure of a product/service with our keyboards. If someone has a negative experience at a restaurant and chooses to write a Yelp review, the restaurant doesn’t just lose that one customer. They lose every prospective patron who reads that review.
And it’s not just the words of anonymous reviewers that impact our buying decisions. When it comes to making a major B2B purchase, you’re going to look to your colleagues, your business connections, your friends in the industry, etc to help inform the buy.
Let’s say you do a ton of research for a new ABM platform for your business. You think you found the right one. They’re local, have decent reviews, and seem to know what they’re doing. But before you buy, you want a second opinion. So you reach out to your old manager/mentor who’s now a CMO at a B2B tech company. And you ask them if they’ve heard of the platform and what they think. And they tell you “Oh yeah, we used them for a bit. The product is great, but the customer service is lousy. They take forever to troubleshoot issues and the onboarding process is a nightmare.”
Boom, you’re gone. Not buying that one. It doesn’t matter what their accolades are or what their numbers indicate. Word of mouth is backed by trust and credibility from respected authorities. If someone you respect and trust tells you a certain brand isn’t worth buying, then nothing else matters. They’ve lost you.
What people say about your brand matters a lot more than what you say about yourself. Make sure they have something good to say.
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Get after it this week.