Musing on Voice of Customer and Word of Mouth Marketing

I was reading a post by Bruce Temkin about power of the VOC (Voice of Customer)

It turns out that more than half of the large companies had a formal VoC program in place. And when we asked about the results, the data was amazing — 83% of companies reported that they had positive results from those efforts.

I am surprised and encouraged that large companies are so interested and invested in this large and not very clearly defined area of a Customer Experience Management. Mostly I am surprised to learn that these companies claim they are actually act on their findings. I am not challenging Bruce’s findings, I just would like to see it as a consumer more often.

Meanwhile I would like to muse on one of my favorite subject – how to make your customers to market your products – i.e. Word of Mouth Marketing.  The WOM became an important part of VOC enterprise strategy as social media enabled consumers to become much more influential than we used to be. However WOM is the original form of advertising and it played an important role in every day life on issues of much more importance than selection of a product purchase or store preference for millennium. People have, and still do, share information about our experiences with each other across dinner tables, camp fires or customer reviews websites because WOM is much more relevant to an individual needs, concerns or desires than a broad advertising messaging addressed to the market place. Marketers try to improve relevancy of the advertising through segmentation, but their assumptions and biases limit effectiveness of their messages, while WOM is ultimately more effective as its recipients control the message they decide to accept or trust, and then reinforce it by sharing their own experience.

I would like to quote a LinkedIn discussion tread here:

People decide intellectually but buy emotionally. Selling based on features and benefits won’t close the sale for the customer, but emotional messages from WOM (“This product is great because it met this need for me”) will do it. All people make decisions intellectually but will buy emotionally – particularly if the purchase resolves a ” pain “for them as recommended WOM

37 years of being in the brand building business has made me realise that the CONSUMER IS THE MEDIUM. Sumit Roy

Here are few more quotes from the same conversation

1- CONSUMER is MEDIUM – implies there are great opportunities to tap into for better and faster business results. The medium, which is in the process of being discovered and integrated into strategies and business models.

2- WOM is AMPLIFIER, i.e. ADs x WOM – implies that WOM can be that multiplier improving the result beyond your “traditional” mediums diminishing returns curve. In fact, WOM is the enabler to make that curve steeper (you get more with every additional dollar invested) and higher (you can enjoy that for longer than usual).

However this is my favorite – “Trust is what helps social intercourse breed healthy brands”. My deepest thanks to everyone who contributed to that discussion.

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