Word of mouth marketing is a sort of holy grail these days. A 2013 Neilsen survey shows that 84% of people consider a recommendation or referral from a friend the most trustworthy source of product information. The second-highest ranked source in their poll was branded websites, with a distant 69% of people saying they considered them a good source of product information. The same poll showed that 77% of people were more likely to buy a product after a friend or family member recommended it.

In order for your brand to get good word of mouth marketing, consumers need to have positive experiences with your products and services. After all, how can people share glowing reviews with their friends, family or social media followers if they don’t know anything about you?

This article will explore this idea of “word of mouth marketing” further. Then we’ll look at some of the ways you can give consumers such an amazing experience with your brand that they’ll want to sing your praises from the rooftops.

What is word of mouth marketing?

Entrepreneur.com calls word of mouth marketing “An unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product or service.” It can happen informally, when one person tells another person how much they like a product or service. It can also happen when brands actively encourage consumers to post positive reviews online or otherwise market their products for them.

Word of mouth marketing isn’t new. When was the last time you called lawyers, hairdressers or home maintenance professionals without getting advice from someone who’d worked with that person in the past? Word of mouth marketing has been essential for service professionals since their professions began.

But word of mouth marketing is absolutely vital for every modern business, whether it’s selling a product or service. Consumers (especially Millennials) don’t trust advertising the way they used to. They’ve been burned by misleading or false advertising enough times that they’re looking for other places to get information about worthwhile products and services.

Word of mouth marketing also helps businesses cut through the clutter. People are overwhelmed by the choices at supermarkets, drug stores and online. They need a way to narrow down which car to buy, or which restaurant to eat at, or which fashion brands they should support.

Keep in mind that word of mouth marketing doesn’t literally have to come from someone’s mouth. Millions of people now communicate online. Social media is a great place for people to ask their friends and family for referrals to service providers or information about products they should buy. Online reviews are also a powerful way to promote a business’s products and services.

How can you get consumers talking about your company, either face to face or online? It all starts with creating a positive consumer experience.

Ways to create positive consumer experiences

This should come as no surprise, but the best way to give consumers a positive experience with your brand is to offer a stellar product or service. Your food and spirits should taste amazing, your airline services on time and enjoyable, your banking products affordable and transparent.

All along the way, consumers should encounter people who make them feel important and listened to. Providing great customer services is nearly as important as having a good product or service. So is being a company that exhibits values such as trustworthiness, social responsibility, and a willingness to look beyond the bottom line and do the right thing. Just as consumers today are less likely to trust advertising, they are more willing to support companies with values in line with their own.

There are some ways you can go above and beyond for existing customers and potential new consumers. Many brands use social media to engage in two-way communication with consumers, offer special deals and give them an inside look at the workings of the company (and perhaps even an industry as a whole). Today’s consumer really appreciates these things. They want to feel like they have some relationship with the company that’s selling them their food and beverages, airline tickets, banking services, really everything they need.

Experiential marketing events are another wonderful way to provide a positive consumer experience. Experiential marketing is any event where consumers can engage directly with a brand or product. A few examples of experiential marketing are product sampling or giveaway events, booths at festivals or fairs, sporting events or concerts organized by a brand, or any fun event designed to create a positive association between a person and a company.

Experiential marketing activations allow consumers to engage with a brand’s products with all five senses. Why trust a television ad that says an e-cigarette is amazing when you can hold it in your hand, taste its flavorful smoke and smell its pungent aroma? Why read about a new speaker system when you can listen to its sound quality and see its interesting and streamlined appearance?

In addition to appealing to people’s senses, experiential marketing is also designed to connect a positive experience with a brand. People who attend a concert by their favorite musician, go on a scavenger hunt and win great prizes, or experience 4D technology for the first time are going to remember that experience their whole life. Chances are they’ll also remember the brand that allowed them to have that experience – and they’re more likely to stay loyal to that brand.

Are you sold on experiential marketing as a big part of your puzzle for more word of mouth marketing and positive consumer experiences? Factory 360 can make your experiential marketing vision become a reality. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand create an experience that consumers will be talking about for years to come.

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