During my time at University, I did a marketing internship at a German fashion label start up. On my first day, I was rather perplexed when my boss told me that they don’t do marketing and don’t need marketing. Back then, I just accepted that I was doing my marketing internship in a company that doesn’t do marketing.
Today I know that they did do marketing, just not the usual print or online adverts. The brand relied on influencer marketing and word of mouth (WOM) marketing. And it worked: Seven years down the line the brand is one of the most popular German street style brands, with a revenue of €20+ million, stocked at all the major department stores and online shops.
While influencer marketing is not common in the Business-to-Business hemisphere yet, people are always talking. People don’t just speak about the clothing brands they are wearing; they speak about experiences they have had at work: The supplier that delivered late again, the very knowledgeable customer rep they spoke to on the phone or the great quality product they have received from that new supplier they’re in business with. They speak about such topics face to face with their colleagues and business partners, online in forums, or they tweet about it. This makes WOM marketing an omnipresent tool to improve business performance.
But how is WOM actually triggered? What do you have to do so that your customers will share their positive experiences with your brand?
Deliver (far) beyond what is expected. We speak about situations, when we were stunned because we did not expect something particular to happen. Create this experience for your customers and they will surely want to spread the word about this positive experience.
Don’t advertise it. If you advertise whatever you are doing to amaze your customers, they won’t need to speak about it anymore. Furthermore, it becomes part of your normal offering and will be expected from that point on.
Be creative and involve your customers. Planning to overhaul your website? Why not give your customers a chance to have a say in what could or should be changed?
Most importantly: Have an outstanding product. In the end, your deliveries can be on time, your customer service responsive and always available – if your product’s quality does not excite your customers, they won’t consider your business in the first place.
While these suggestions apply to the vast majority of companies, your company has some of its very own, specific trigger points of excitement for your customers. Depending on your product, these could be product information materials, technical service or the agent you work with, to serve customers in international markets. Whatever this excitement factor might be – make sure to find out what it is, keep its performance high and wait for your customers to support your marketing.