Marketing For The Future November 2016 - Page 5

THE POWER OF WORD OF MOUTH How local companies can attract customers through word of mouth SURICH MATHILDA AND MONIQUE EMELINA-PIETER Word of mouth marketing is giving people reason to talk about a company’s products (Sernovitz, 2015). Word of mouth has been proven to be more powerful than other marketing tools, such as advertising, as people are more likely to try or buy products that are endorsed by their friends and family members. The reason is that people trust their friends’ experiences with the product (Hajli, Lin, Featherman, & Wang, 2013). WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING IS GIVING PEOPLE REASON TO TALK ABOUT A COMPANY’S PRODUCTS There are two causes for the origin of word of mouth. These are organic and amplified word of mouth marketing (Sernovitz, 2015). The former entails that word of mouth results from any positive thing from a company, while the latter entails a designed campaign to encourage people to talk about a business and its products. Word of mouth flows through three different channels. There is offline (Sernovitz, 2015) electronic or online (Thorbj0rnsen, Ketelaar, Dahlen , & Van T Riet, 2015) and social word of mouth (Hajli, Lin, Featherman, & Wang, 2013). Offline word of mouth is when customers exchange information about a product or business through personal conversations or phone calls. One example of electronic via word of mouth is the sharing of information on a product or business that occurs online, such as via e-mails. Word of mouth that occurs on social media is referred to as social word of mouth (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwel, 2009). However, advertisements can still cause word of mouth. Future-oriented advertisement can cause word of mouth as it increases the curiosity of customers due to its uncertainty (Keller & Fay, 2009). Amusing and shocking advertisements also have a strong impact for starting conversations (Berger & Milkman, 2011). Moreover, it has been proven that online marketing is more traceable and will reach people faster than traditional marketing, while marketing on social media reaches a large group of people more rapidly (Thorbj0rnsen, Ketelaar, Dahlen , & Van T Riet, 2015). According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (Word of Mouth Marketing Association, 2007) there are different marketing tools that can be implemented to stimulate word of mouth. These include but are not limited to referral programs, buzz marketing, viral marketing, product seeding, and influencer marketing (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). According to Servnonitz (2015), in order for a company to successfully stimulate word of mouth, it must be interesting, make people happy, earn the trust and respect of its customers, and make it easy by providing tools that would make the sharing of information easier (Sernovitz, 2015). Previous research has shown that women are indeed very lucrative customers for businesses. Research has shown that women have a high buying power (Silverstein & Sayre, 2009) since they account for a growth market larger than that of China and India combined. The female market is also attractive for car maintenance and repair shops as 60% of car owners are women (Ibisworld, 2015) 5