Let’s Get Talking – The Future of Word Of Mouth Marketing!
Authored by Swati Bhargava, Co-Founder & CEO, CashKaro
When it comes to generating new leads, you know there’s nothing better than word of mouth. A happy customer has always been the best form of marketing & advertising. The way customers share their opinions in today’s uber-connected world however has changed drastically.
So, what’s the future going to look like? Well, before we look ahead, let’s look back and appreciate how far word of mouth has evolved into a wider approach; one that goes beyond a friend’s recommendation. It started with small internet communities that brought a phase of consumer centric review platforms.
Soon, e-commerce companies such as Amazon & Flipkart quickly offered more trustworthy review sections of their own. So, buyers knew they weren’t reading a paid or fake review. There are of course close-knit digital communities like Team-BHP, TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet which will continue to influence consumers as long as they stay honest & trustworthy.
In the broader scheme of things, leveraging opinion and advice will need a far more technology-based approach. The strength of word of mouth has always been the impact influence has on potential consumers. While we still find ourselves being influenced by many whom we trust, there’s a circle outside our family, friends and acquaintances whom we tend to trust and follow.
These are influencer who know how to create trust, authenticity, a sense of friendship and simplify access to information. The first wave of these influencers was made up of Bloggers, Celebrities and Actors. The next wave and the one that exists even today is the world of social media influencers - YouTube stars and Instagram Celebrities. These modern-day influencers are the new faces of word of mouth opinion makers.
Most consumers are influenced by recommendations from such power individuals. The only downside to this however is that some of these individuals or the organizations that employ them make false claims and share mis-information in exchange of money. This is when such individuals lost trust and authenticity. Luckily, “Word Of Mouth” always finds a way! Being an entrepreneur myself, I can relate to the opportunities that have come our way through word of mouth marketing. While there are several celebrity influencers one can employ –some such people have lost credibility. This is a combination of buying fake followers or doing too many unauthentic paid promotions. Which is why the future of word of mouth marketing lies with Key Opinion Leaders and Micro-influencers.
These people are loyal and in turn earn the trust of their followers and fans. People relate to them almost like friends and these influencers are also fiercely protective of their viewers. At CashKaro we work with a lot of these influencers through Qapper – our influencer marketing division focused on this.
In my personal experience these influencers have strengthened CashKaro’ customer base. From working with external micro-influencers to creating an in-house team of our own fashion and lifestyle influencer channel – MenSwag, CashKaro has climbed up the ladder. We noticed that over 80% people who learn about a product or service through trusted influencers – tend to make a purchase decision.
Today word of mouth has spurred the growth of Social Commerce players such as Meesho, Wooplr and EarnKaro – which is CashKaro’s social deal commerce platform. Such platforms help users earn money when they recommend/share/sell a product. So, there is an incentive for everyone to spread information through a digital version of word of mouth – using WhatsApp, Messenger and other social channels.
The Way Forward
The future of word of mouth marketing will likely be ruled by Amazon and Google. These giants have done a brilliant job of keeping the consumer at the heart of their approach. A recent example of this is Neighbourly by Google, an app that works for the people on the basis of anonymous community reviews.
So, while you and I contribute to Google or Amazon by sharing reviews and images – their products share this credible, useful and unbiased information with its users. What’s great is that all these tech giants are- taking the words out of our mouths and turning them into a trustworthy, free-flowing information bank.
While 2018 was all about understanding and knowing how to create positive word of mouth for your business, 2019 will be all about implementing what we’ve learnt. Encourage happy customers to talk about your brand and engage with them on every conceivable platform.
As it becomes easier for people to put their opinions and experiences out there, the genuine sentiment that surrounds your brand will make more noise than any form or marketing or advertising can. The future is word of mouth is consumer driven. Potential buyers will have access to easy to use technology driven platforms that offer a real-time reflection of aggregated existing-consumer sentiment.
Swati Bhargava is the Co-founder of CashKaro.com- India’s largest Cashback & Coupons website. A girl from the small town of Ambala, Swati knew knowledge and education were her tickets to success. Stepping out of LSE, Swati worked her way up the corporate ladder at Goldman Sachs, London. After 5 enlightening years at Goldman Sachs, Swati decided to venture into the world of business. She started a UK based Cashback business - Pouring Pounds along with her husband & Co-Founder, Rohan Bhargava.
Swati also Co-Chairs H2 India- a Global leadership network for the digital industry. Honoured as one of the top 10 women entrepreneurs in the E-commerce industry, Swati has represented India at the coveted Blackbox Connect – Female Founders Edition - powered by Google in Silicon Valley, California.