Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

We all know that people trust people like themselves the most, and that "real" friends are more influential than online contacts. But how does this shake out, exactly?

According to a recent Mintel study cited by eMarketer, people who bought a product based on a
recommendation did so based on this breakdown:

And while you'll see that bloggers make up only 5% of the recommendation source, for those of
you who have resources tied up in blogger relations programs, this is not some sky-is-falling panic to get you to halt your efforts. On the contrary, how many friends, relatives, spouses/partners do you know that have a blog or a social network presence? They're still likely to talk about it with others, both online and off.

But if you're going to be effective at tapping into word of mouth marketing (WOMM to some), you at least need to take into account the other acronym: WIIFM.

What's important to them?
I recently shared a link to an old post in which I quoted that master orator, Cicero:
If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words.
No matter what your word of mouth tactics consist of, your content needs to resonate with the people you're trying to reach (and consequently, with their contacts). According to that same study, here are the top three things that matter when it comes to product recommendation:

It's not terribly surprising that people are currently focused on price, is it? We're always looking for a bargain. And, consistent with human nature, we want the best quality at the same time too. :-)

You would think that a clever marketer would simply drop prices and compete based on offering the lowest prices around. Some have. Others have simply shrunk their product size and left prices intact. But those tactics can only last for so long - prices can't drop to zero (or only the largest companies have the scale & leverage) and packaging can't shrink ad infinitum - and in my opinion, it develops into a spiral of decreasing expectations from your customer. It's untenable.

But let's stop and think about price for a moment and recast it in another marketing term - pricing's close cousin value. Recently, Seth Godin wrote about the value equation:

Value = Benefit / Price

What if companies focused on increasing value to the customer by increasing benefit instead of decreasing price? Indeed, if you're providing consistently high benefit, you might even be able to hold the value level high and modestly increase prices.

And that would be something worth talking about.