Marketers debate what word of mouth marketing means in the digital age

Experts discuss new influencer marketing strategies that brands are implementing to boost customer engagement

Tesla, Uber, Ancestry.com and TRIBE discuss the power of word of mouth marketing
Tesla, Uber, Ancestry.com and TRIBE discuss the power of word of mouth marketing

A recent report from Nielsen revealed 92 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. But while everyone now understands the power of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), what does it really mean in today’s digital age?

At Ad:tech's event in Sydney, experts from Tesla, Uber, Ancestry.com and TRIBE discussed how marketers are actively influencing people to talk about their brands and the strategies and channels being used keep the conversation going.

Uber’s senior marketing manager, Aj Tills, said the company’s primary goal is to deliver an experience people will love and then naturally want to talk about.

“For us, we focus on firstly offering a safe, reliable and convenient ride, and then enhancing that,” he told attendees. “It’s about aiming to deliver a money can’t buy sort of experience.

“We’re also about solving offline problems by taking it online. So things like GPS, mobile technology provide more transparency as well as feedback, which helps offer a new ‘magic’ to our customers for a service that was previously a means to an end. That’s what people have called disruption, but we think it is impact. It’s about creating opportunities of scale that have impact, people talk about you and the conversation escalates.”

Tills said Uber strives to keep the paths of conversation open, especially for passengers and drivers, which helps provide consistent feedback after every trip.

“By leaving those lines of communication open, we can then quickly address any issues that may arise,” he added.

Tesla’s head of marketing of marketing and communications, Heath Walker, claimed the car brand doesn’t do any paid advertising or paid sponsorship.

“We almost went bankrupt twice along our journey, but without our key pioneers having involvement in the business, we wouldn’t be here today,” he said. “Now, we’re also using technology to engage with drivers and give them a platform to show their support.”

Ancestry.com’s A/NZ senior director, Kelly Godfrey, said the online site implements a mix of paid and unpaid advertising to promote its business offerings.

“But we have this enviable brand, which is all about stories that people want to remember and want to share,” she said. “Most people love talking about their family history and can’t stop talking about it. We try and make those moments of finding more about their family history really easy, especially on social media. So we do a lot of product integration to really help shareability.”

For anyone with negative feedback, Godfrey said the company makes every effort to reach out one-to-one and have a conversation in an effort to resolve any problems.

“As a result, we find the complainants then become our advocates, and tell others who are leaving negative feedback that we called them and helped resolve their query in a particular way, which works out well for us,” she said.

Finding creative ways to start a conversation

For many brands, the challenge is to find creative ways to start a conversation, said influencer marketplace TRIBE founder, Jules Lund. The company, which serves as a platform through which brands can easily invite and brief influencers to activate powerful 1:1 campaigns and engage audiences, harnesses the philosophy that social influencers have become powerful allies in the marketing world, yet most remain unaware of their value, with no platform to initiate conversations with their favourite brands.

“We have a referral-based platform and we partner with businesses and brands to create an experience to deliver everything from helicopters to puppies,” he said. “We use technology to create a platform through which participates can engage and be part of those conversations.”

Lund claimed marketers had a pre-occupation with the distribution of a brand message, but don't spend enough time or resources creating a message that is really inspiring or engaging.

“Like a message in a bottle that is about to travel,” he explained. “Everyone talks about virality, but I’m amazed at the carrots marketers are dangling in front of influencers they want to engage. I don’t think what they're doing is all that inspiring. If you want your message to travel and really capture people’s imaginations, you probably need to think about something that is really valuable to them moving forward."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Invest and earn with Coinbloc .us. Guaranteed Weekly ROI, early signals, fast withdrawals among others. I recommend Coinbloc .us as on...

Hans Jensen

Explainer: What marketers need to know about cryptocurrency

Read more

Investment decisions are a big deal, so why not get some guidance? You can day-trade cryptos, BUY and HOLD and evaluate the assets with f...

Dave Sigurd

Gartner: Digital isn't enough of a superpower for CMOs anymore

Read more

I normally don’t feel comfortable investing online but because the company I worked for downsized due to the pandemic and I was one of th...

Dave Sigurd

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 June 2022

Read more

Investment decisions are a big deal, so why not get some guidance? You can day-trade cryptos, BUY and HOLD and evaluate the assets with f...

Dave Sigurd

Creating a marketplace for wellness

Read more

A solution for an retail industry data extraction. https://e-scraper.com/usefu...

"e-Scraper" Data Extracting

​Catchoftheday launches fee-based online shopping club

Read more

Blog Posts

2 hidden ingredients for leadership success CMOs need to know

Your success as a senior marketing professional has much in common with your success as a leader. Both marketing, and leadership activities, depend on building trust, encouraging action, and reliably fulfilling promises that have been made.

Gerard Penna

Leadership advisor, coach

How shifting economic trends are impacting digital media

Between further interest rate rises, inflation​, empty shelves, extortionate lettuce prices, supply chain issues and the barely believable events in Eastern Europe, the past six months there’s been a cacophony of environmental factors.

Kieran Reed

Senior digital manager, Alpha Digital

5 ways to turn imposter syndrome into confidence and conviction

Imposter syndrome. That feeling others will discover you are actually not as good as they expect, and at any point you will be exposed and ridiculed as a fraud. If you can relate to this, then you are not alone.

Rowena Millward

Author, consultant

Sign in