I’m a huge proponent of new technologies for communication – which is why a new survey that shows that 89% of word of mouth (WOM) marketing still happens off-line caught me a bit of guard earlier this week. Then again, I believe in the power of storytelling, so I shouldn’t be that surprised.
The survey was conducted by the Keller Fay Group, a WOM research and consulting firm out of North Jersey. Basically, the survey shows that most WOM happens face-to-face (70%). Over-the-phone came in second with 19%, email got 4% and instant messaging got 3%.
In my opinion, the most valuable part of the survey is that on the whole, WOM is 150% times more valuable to consumers than it was in the 70s. And today, it’s twice as valuable as paid media, which points to the value of experiential marketing.
My first blog entry quoted Bill Swanson from Raytheon who said that people remember a third of what they read, half of what they are told, but 100% of what they feel. I would argue that people will not only remember 100% of what they feel, but will also repeat a larger percentage of it.
So how can your business create an experience that people feel and want to talk about? I was talking to a friend the other day about a car he recently purchased. He’s the type who loves to negotiate. So he gave a sales guy a hard time, but finally agreed to a deal. When the deal was finally done, the sales guy got on the loud speaker at the dealership and announced to everyone that my friend was the owner of a new car. Then, all the other sales guys walked up to him and congratulated him on his purchase. Clearly, this is an experience he remembered and was eager to repeat.
Creating great experiences is about surprise. Anytime you want a customer or potential client to leave an interaction with you feeling great – surprise him or her. It can be as simple as a free meal at a restaurant, a letter of appreciation or 12 sales guys congratulating him/her on a purchase.
Surprise isn’t hard – and as this survey shows, great experiences are twice as valuable as an ad in the Wall Street Journal. (And considerably less expensive.)