The initial answer is obvious—trust. You are much more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend over a company. For example, if I am thinking about buying a car, I am more likely to listen to my neighbor’s recommendation about his experience than that Volvo ad on TV.
But the other answer, which seems obvious to me now, but didn’t come to my mind right away, is targeting. With word of mouth marketing, you find the exact people who are interested in your product. By asking my neighbor for advice on car shopping, I am obviously interested in a car, and am the target audience for those car marketers. Berger also mentioned that word of mouth marketing is 10 times more effective than a traditional ad.
So You Know Word of Mouth is Effective….But How Do You Do It?
In Mr. Berger’s book, Contagious, and in his session, he provided 6 steps (or as he called them, STEPPS) to drive people to share both online and face-to-face.
- Social Currency – what will make your audience feel cool or look good sharing?
- Triggers – what will remind people of your product and be top of mind to share?
- Emotion – what will your audience care about enough to share?
- Public – what will have high enough visibility that it will share itself?
- Practical Value – what feature contains practical and helpful information to share?
- Stories – what will tell a story and not just share facts?