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What Is the Digital Version of Word-Of-Mouth Marketing?

Word-of-mouth marketing has been a powerful tool for businesses since its inception. In its simplest form, it involves people talking to their family, friends, and colleagues about positive experiences with a brand or product. This often creates a ripple effect of trust and recommendations, leading to new customers and increased sales.

Word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective. In a survey conducted by RRD involving 1,000 consumers, it was found that 55% of respondents discover products through word of mouth. Notably, 40% of these individuals made purchases based on these recommendations. Additionally, a significant 28% preferred word of mouth as their primary means of discovering products, surpassing other forms of information dissemination.

The advent of the digital age has changed how businesses approach their marketing and opened up new avenues to reach a wider audience. These days, the traditional word-of-mouth concept has taken a dynamic digital form, giving rise to digital word-of-mouth marketing (DWOM). This blog post examines the question what is the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing? It also explores how businesses can leverage it to boost their online presence and revenue margins. 

What is the Online Version of Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Word-of-mouth marketing remains an effective marketing strategy. But as the world becomes more and more digital, one key question that modern businesses need to find answers to is, “What is the online version of word-of-mouth marketing?” The online version of word-of-mouth marketing is digital word-of-mouth marketing (DWOMM). It leverages the power of the internet to amplify organic recommendations and brand conversations. Unlike traditional word-of-mouth, DWOMM operates at a much larger scale and faster pace, reaching a wider audience instantly through online platforms and social media.

Two colleagues engage in word-of-mouth marketing in an office setting, as learned through their digital marketing diploma.
Our digital marketing diploma program highlights the efficacy of digital word-of-mouth.

This digital space empowers every user to become a potential brand advocate, sharing positive and negative experiences through online reviews, comments, and user-generated content (UGC). These online opinions and interactions significantly impact brand perception and purchase decisions, making DWOMM a powerful tool for businesses to build trust and loyalty. 

Social Media as the Driving Force Behind DWOM

The power and influence of social media in the digital space is undeniable. With this in mind, is social media the digital version of word-of-mouth? Social media platforms have become the driving force behind digital word-of-mouth (DWOM). The ease of sharing experiences on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has empowered every user to act as a potential brand advocate. These days, online reviews, comments, and user-generated content (UGC) act as the modern currency of trust, significantly influencing consumer decisions and shaping brand perception.

In the digital landscape, a single positive review or a well-crafted UGC post can reach a vast audience in mere minutes. Conversely, negative feedback can spread rapidly, highlighting the crucial role of providing excellent products and customer service. Businesses must actively manage their online reputation and engage with their audience to️ harness DWOM’s power effectively.

A female digital marketing professional checking her social media engagement after completing her digital marketing diploma program.
Social media is key to word-of-mouth marketing, as per our digital marketing diploma program.

Viral Marketing vs DWOM

Is viral marketing the digital marketer’s version of word-of-mouth advertising? Viral marketing, with its ability to spread like wildfire across the internet, is often considered the digital marketer’s equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. Viral content has the innate ability to captivate and engage audiences, compelling them to share with their networks. Whether it’s a heartwarming video, a humorous meme, or a thought-provoking article, the essence of viral marketing aligns closely with the organic and authentic nature of traditional word-of-mouth.

While both viral marketing and word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing rely on organic sharing and positive brand perception, some key distinctions exist:

Focus:

  • Viral marketing: Prioritizes short-term attention and engagement, sometimes sacrificing brand alignment for the sake of “going viral.” 
  • WOM marketing: Emphasizes building trust and positive brand associations through organic recommendations, fostering long-term loyalty.

Control:

  • Viral marketing: Relies on engineered content or campaigns to achieve rapid spread, potentially sacrificing genuineness.
  • WOM marketing: Encourages authentic conversations and feedback, allowing brands to influence but not fully control the message.

Speed and reach:

  • Viral marketing: Content spreads rapidly and can reach millions within hours, creating a significant short-term impact.
  • WOM marketing: Spreads more gradually but builds sustained brand awareness and trust over time.

Content types:

  • Viral marketing: Often focuses on humour, emotions, or surprise to capture attention.
  • WOM marketing: including reviews, testimonials, user-generated content, and personal recommendations.

Ultimately, viral and WOM marketing can be valuable tools for digital marketers. The most effective approach often combines both strategies, leveraging the short-term buzz of viral campaigns to build long-term trust and loyalty through authentic WOM.

FAQs

What is the online version of word-of-mouth marketing?

The online version of word-of-mouth marketing is digital word-of-mouth marketing (DWOMM). 

Is social media the digital version of word-of-mouth?

Social media platforms have become the driving force behind digital word-of-mouth (DWOM). 

Is viral marketing the digital marketer’s version of word-of-mouth advertising?

Viral marketing, with its ability to spread like wildfire across the internet, is often considered the digital marketer’s equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising.

Are you interested in our digital marketing diploma?

Contact Cumberland College for more information.

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