Articles / Recommended Reading

Think Your Product Is Too Boring for Word of Mouth Marketing?

Think Your Product Is Too Boring for Word of Mouth Marketing? Think Again

Knowledge@Wharton | Marketing
17 February 2014
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania

Word of mouth has become the Holy Grail for today’s marketers. Word-of-mouth marketing, also called word-of-mouth advertising or WOM, is 10 times more effective than traditional advertising, according to Jonah Berger, a Wharton marketing professor. “A great deal of research has demonstrated that word of mouth affects choice, diffusion [the process by which a group of people adopts a product] and sales,” writes Berger.

Today, word of mouth extends far beyond face-to-face and phone conversations to texting, chatting, social media sites and blogs. How does a business find reliable suppliers or choose the best advertising agency? What about consumers deciding on a repair company to fix a broken dryer, the right store to buy an engagement ring, whether or not to try that new sports drink, when to upgrade an iPad or what product would get crayon marks off the coffee table? For many consumers and firms, it wasn’t traditional advertising that helped them make a choice, but a Yelp review, a text exchange with a relative, a spontaneous chat with a co-worker, an acquaintance’s post on Facebook or reviews on a business’s website.

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