„Word of Mouth” marketing seems to be a really nice idea. In theory. Marketers love to use this word, as shortcut for “let’s trick or manipulate people into reciting our press release”.
Let’s face it, most brands are not ready for W-o-MM, because it’s very likely that whoever is talking, will add something from themselves, and it might not always be the exact thing the company would like to hear. So in the end, it’s still the company who wants to do the talking.
But there are brands that are wildly successful with W-o-MM. Today I wanted to talk a bit about a brand that almost lives of WOMM, and yet, might be unknown to most marketing specialist due to its nature.
The brand I have in mind is a cosmetic brand called M.A.C. Truth is, most people have heard about it. How? The company does little advertising, does not conduct huge press campaigns, nor does it pay actors or musicians to be brand ambassadors. And yet, the products and releases are intensely discussed on blogs, forums and YouTube.
So how do they do it? I’ve been giving it a thought, and it seems that the success of the brand lays in minimizing the messaging. M.A.C. products are generally simple in packaging, the copywritng is basic and dry, and the company does not even provide a full spectrum presentation of the product, with promotional materials lacking photos of how the cosmetics behave when applied to skin.
And that’s where the gurus, influencers, and bloggers come in. They buy the product, describe it, provide photos of “swatches”, and detailed information on the product qualities. Basically, they are doing what a typical marketing department would do. Best of all, they do it for free, and while spending money on the products. At the same time, they do provide utility to their communities and readers, by creating additional informative and useful materials. The PR company of M.A.C. quickly got hold of this trend, and build connections with key influencers.
Summary: sometimes letting the influencers do the talking can do wonders. If the product is well designed at its core, and cohesive with the general brand image, there should be no need for the marketing department to crack their heads over how to convey the product message and value with fancy copywriting and tag-lines.
Giving influencers space to fill with their activity, allows them to provide something unique and valuable to their followers. And followers generally tend to trust the influencers, and so, the message becomes even more powerful.
There are a few brands out there, who have achieved success using this communication strategy. Let the example be even Apple, who does not have to provide it’s users with wordy explanations on product qualities and just let the brand lovers do the talking.