Many of today’s consumers are flat out. Work and family demands take up a significant amount of their time. On top of all this, marketers are constantly bombarding them with advertising from multiple sources- TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, the Internet.
Companies are displaying their products, brands and logos in ever more creative ways in an attempt to cut through the clutter and get noticed. Any venue, medium or activity that attracts large numbers of eyeballs is fair game for advertisers. Its overwhelming and there seems to be no end to the madness.
To be competitive, businesses have to be in the game in some way shape or form. But their ads and messages must also get through to their targeted audiences in the right place and at the right time for them to take action.
The good thing about the current environment is this that there are so many alternatives available to marketers to get the word out. The question businesses must ask is- Which are the most effective ways to reach the markets we serve and what is the right media mix? This is an important question for the small business with a limited budget that needs to get the most bang for their buck.
Although mass media has the advantage of getting ads exposed to huge numbers, there is no guarantee it can deliver the right numbers in terms of a specific target audience, even by placing ads on mass mediums that cater to very specific target audiences-cable channels, talk radio, social networks.
Not only is it difficult getting noticed by the right customer, marketer generated advertising also has the issue of credibility. According to the findings of an April 2007 Nielsen survey, consumers place the most trust in what they hear from other consumers when deciding which products and services to buy. Some 78% of the respondents in the Nielsen Online Global Consumer Study indicated that a recommendation from another consumer is their most trusted source of advertising.
Businesses are therefore faced with the challenge of promoting their brands, products and services in a cluttered environment where fewer consumers trust the messages coming from traditional mediums. Given this set of circumstances, word of mouth marketing makes sense for small business. It should be included in the marketing plan as an additional tactic, especially for businesses that receive a fair share of new customers through referrals.
If you’re getting most of your new customers through referrals then you probably have the necessary components in place to begin a word of mouth marketing campaign.