Brand Advocates, Online Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)
Word of mouth marketing encompasses a variety of subgenres including buzz, viral, blog, social media, guerrilla marketing and more. Research has shown that individuals are more likely to believe product information that is communicated to them through word of mouth. It has also been shown that consumesr tend to believe that advertising from traditional media often has ulterior motives and that WOMM advertising is the most credible.
Clearly Word of Mouth marketing is an important aspect to any company’s marketing. Online marketing is connected to Word of Mouth marketing because people will often take what they see online and then communicate it to their peers. According to a 2006 Doubleclick.com study that delved into the question “how can marketers most effectively spend advertising dollars to influence word of mouth,” the best way to influence word of mouth by advertising is through online marketing. It stated that marketers should bear in mid that when they are investing in online ads they are not only targeting their prospective customers, through WOMM they are also targeting the family’s and peers of their target market.
Companies should focus on brand advocates when they are designing their online advertising. Brand advocates are people who are likely to share their favourite brands to the people in their lives without being paid to do so. These people can also be called influencers. The previously mentioned Doubleclick.com study found that influencers are much more likely to rely on online advertising compared to television ads. It also found that people who didn’t tell others of their favourite brands and companies were more likely to gain their information from television ads compared to online ads.
An effective example of Brand advocacy is Wal-Mart’s “mommy bloggers”. Mommy Bloggers are people who volunteer to talk about different things involving Wal-Mart including special offers, health and wellness and also different clearance items and customer reviewed products.
There is a helpful page on the Social Media Examiners website that talks about using brand advocates and what is being missed out if you are not using them. Essentially it says that if you are not using brand advocates you are missing out on the opportunity to have regular people acting as sales representatives for free.