word-of-mouth marketingThe State of Word of Mouth Marketing 2014 report has been released by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA), and it’s filled with information that can be very useful to content publishers.

In total, 328 marketers participated in the online survey (primarily from the WOMMA and AMA member email lists and social media followers).

The results show that overall, marketers are very satisfied with most word-of-mouth marketing tactics. Company-led tactics that the marketers had control over ranked higher than tactics that were more likely to be under consumers’ control. For example, organizing parties and events ranked at the top of the list of word-of-mouth marketing and social media tactics that marketers were satisfied with while enlisting influencers ranked at the bottom of the list.

The word-of-mouth marketing and social media tactics included in the survey were ranked by respondents as follows:

  1. Organizing parties and events = 92% very or somewhat satisfied
  2. Building and managing pages and profiles = 88% very or somewhat satisfied
  3. Responding to online social media = 87% very or somewhat satisfied
  4. Monitoring online social media = 87% very or somewhat satisfied
  5. Creating visual content = 86% very or somewhat satisfied
  6. Using agents for sampling = 86% very or somewhat satisfied
  7. Managing customer reviews = 86% very or somewhat satisfied
  8. Managing customer referrals = 84% very or somewhat satisfied
  9. Engaging bloggers = 84% very or somewhat satisfied
  10. Engaging fans in campaign development = 83% very or somewhat satisfied
  11. Engaging fans in product development = 82% very or somewhat satisfied
  12. Using sharing buttons = 81% very or somewhat satisfied
  13. Having word-of-mouth and social media ad objectives = 81% very or somewhat satisfied
  14. Monitoring offline word-of-mouth = 81% very or somewhat satisfied
  15. Creating and managing brand communities = 79% very or somewhat satisfied
  16. Encouraging customer-created content = 78% very or somewhat satisfied
  17. Enlisting advocates = 77% very or somewhat satisfied
  18. Enlisting influencers = 77% very or somewhat satisfied

In total, 64% of respondents to the survey believe that both word-of-mouth marketing and social media marketing are more effective than traditional marketing. Most marketers are using word-of-mouth marketing and social media tactics to increase brand awareness, but more than one in two marketers are using word-of-mouth marketing and social media to:

  • Increase brand awareness = 82%
  • Increase brand equity and brand perception = 73%
  • Drive engagement = 69%
  • Increase recommendations = 65%
  • Build a corporate reputation = 57%
  • Build a competitive advantage = 54%

Smaller numbers of marketers use word-of-mouth marketing and social media for direct sales (43%), to gather insights and research (31%), to change their brand image (28%), or to reduce costs (11%).

The Takeaway for Authoritative Content Publishers

What can content publishers learn from marketers about word-of-mouth and social media? First, embrace the fact that both work very well for building your brand and developing audience perceptions of your brand. With that in mind, identify strategies that align with your goals and then test word-of-mouth marketing and social media tactics.

Start by focusing on tactics you can control, and remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Your audience, your content, and your brand are unique. What is your competitive differentiator? What does your brand promise to your audience? What value does your brand deliver to them in every interaction that they have with it?

Stay true to your brand focus, and always follow the three primary steps of brand building: consistency, persistence, and restraint.

Image: Svilen Milev