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Distinguish between “word-of-mouth” and “word-of-mouse.” in marketing. Provide a good example of word-of-mouth buzz

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Word-of-mouth, as we all know, is a form of personal communication channel that can have considerable effect in many product areas. Personal influence carries great weight especially for consumers in the market for products that are expensive, risky, or highly visible1. Few consumers today are buying a big-ticket item without knowing exactly what existing users have to say about the product. The same goes for restaurant goers, gadget-lovers, bargain shoppers, you name it. Surveys of purchasing influences support that buyers tend to trust recommendations by a relative or friend; “one study found that 90 percent of customers trust recommendations from people they know and 70 percent trust consumer opinions posted online”. All that being said, it is clear that buyers can be influenced heavily by word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations, either positive or negative. From a business perspective, customers with positive experiences will spread the ‘word’ to their network of friends and family members, which can be good for business. Folks who have had bad experiences can share their story as well, but will be limited by their personal network—a plus for businesses looking to avoid the “kiss-of-death” associated with bad reviews circulated online.

Word-of-mouse, on the other hand, is not only a play on words, but also a source of communication publicly-available online that can make or break a business given its far-reaching and lasting consequences. While word-of-mouse advertising can be categorized as a key trend driving business, capable of creating fast connections with customers and building ongoing relationships, negative reviews posted online can quickly end customer relationships before they’re even established! Businesses don’t typically post or manage the posting of online reviews, and those with poor online ratings (generally, about 40 percent of all reviews are negative1) can suffer losses in sales and goodwill as a result. It can be frustrating for business owners (especially small, local business owners) who have no control over the filtering of subpar reviews, especially from critical shoppers who require a seemingly unobtainable level of service. From a customer standpoint, the ability to find reviews of a local business or popular brand can be a useful when making purchasing decisions; however, finding reliable information online can be difficult, which is consistent with customers’ tendencies to trust recommendations from known sources. Also, one could argue that businesses have upped their service levels in recent years, as they are now at the mercy of their customers’ reviews—again, a plus for customers.

Pinterest thrives on user-generated content. The company depends on users to create vision boards and actively recruit more “pinners” into the fold. So, how did Pinterest go from 3000 followers in early 2010 to over 200 million in 2018?

Founder Ben Silbermann turned to the site’s small, but passionate, audience to plan a growth campaign. The site’s loyal group of users really loved the product, so Silbermann organized meetups with them to get feedback. Connecting one-on-one showed users the Pinterest team was serious about building a better site and a bigger community.

Pinterest used this gateway to run one of the most successful referral programs of all time. The “Pin It Forward” campaign encouraged users to create pinboards and invite their friends to do the same. Striking visuals provided inspiration for people to join and offered a preview of exciting projects they could try.

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