When businesses are in need of a new technology to incorporate in their operations, they would usually make rounds in the market to check companies that offer IT products or services as well as relevant enterprise software. They can look at tools, they can do research about specs, they can ask salespeople about prices and packages. Almost everything they need to know is at their grasp, except for one thing – they cannot really foretell whether a product or service will work for them.
In cases like that, buyers need insights from other people. They can talk to other business owners, IT Managers and specialists about how a certain system worked (or did not work) for them. That’s where “word of mouth” comes in. It’s the closest thing they have in making sure their purchase will be worth the risk. Not even free trials or demos can assure success; one or two months won’t be enough to ascertain what will happen in the longer term. They need to have someone give them an idea about the product at hand.
Taking advantage of this notion, marketers now put into account Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) into their strategies. Whether done deliberately or as a by-product, WOMM has become an essential supplement in B2B lead generation.
People tend to give high regard to recommendations from peers. When a company publicly discloses that a certain product or service has done good things for their business, they put their name and reputation on the line. It’s pretty much the same as a celebrity endorsing a brand; only WOMM is an unpaid form of promotion, whether oral or written.
Speaking of written promotions, certain brand marketers recently crossed the line when they allegedly went as far as paying people to write favorable reviews for their products. They even create multiple bogus accounts just to lift their brand’s awareness and approval. Unethical as it can be, this just shows how crucial WOMM is in building a reputation.
B2B marketers will most likely benefit from WOMM more than B2C. Why? Because in B2B, you have the means to know whether or not a recommender is a legitimate authority. People who sing praises towards brands are those with relevant job positions and known reputations in their respective industries. It’s like movie reviews – nobody cares what an unknown journalist says, the only important opinion is that of big figures like Rolling Stone, Time, Rotten Tomatoes, etc.
In the case of IT buyers, they are already more or less aware which people they should listen to. The IT industry is jam-packed with hundreds of influencers and revolutionaries whose insights are the only ones that truly matter.
Improve the quality of whatever you’re selling, and let the people spread the word for you.