The Power of Word of Mouth

In South Africa on July 23, 2011 by pris0fcourse Tagged: , ,

More and more online applications and sites are being linked with social media networks. You can hardly use search engines without a little icon popping up to tell you that one of your Facebook friends “liked” something. This marketing method to help the consumer decide stems from the good old WOM method. This is a marketing strategy that works very well in South Africa (SA). Over 41 million South Africans actively talk about
their daily experiences with various brands, products and companies. That figure compares to 86% of the South African population, which is 17% higher than the global average. These stats position SA the most talkative country in the world about brands.

Using WOM as a Marketing Strategy

The use of social media for businesses is almost an imperative in South Africa. The chance of generating awareness with traditional media is
1-in-325, through WOM there is a 1-in-3 chance.

Larger corporations in SA mostly use traditional marketing (TV, radio, print) to advertise their brands. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) operates 4 TV stations, the SABC radio network. There are 3.751 million internet hosts. The stats show that those traditional-marketing-using-companies could be missing a great opportunity of reaching their consumers more effectively.


Where to find WOM online?

“Word of Mouth has always been the most powerful form of advertising, and even more so now! We don’t trust advertisers and salespeople as much, so we’re looking for referrals from real people we know and trust”

Word of Mouth Forum is a forum style platform where consumers share their experience and opinions about brands and services. On the  forum local business get to hear what their customers have to say about them and on which areas they could improve.

Three Reasons why WOMF is different from other SM networks 

1.    It’s good for the consumer and the company: Consumers can make easier decision on brands and also share their opinions with their entire community. It’s an easy way for companies to receive feedback negative or positive.  

2.    E-lerts:
Whenever a business name is mentioned in a conversation “E-lerts” will be sent out to those subscribed to receive them and they can immediately join the convo.

3.    Not limited to friends and followers: Conversations held on WOMF reach local communities, this allows local users read about
businesses in their area.

I personally like the idea of WOMF, because of the following list of reasons:

–      It’s targeted per community so that increases the relevance for readers and organizations;

–      It’s not a forum to gossip or completely bash others. It actually works in favour of both parties;

–     The companies get “E-lerst” whenever you mention them;

I think it’s the ideal online platform for SA consumers, because it gives them a central forum to go and read about a business and in doing so it may affect a change in consumer behavior which will be beneficial to the user and the business.

One Response to “The Power of Word of Mouth”

  1. Word of mouth is definitely an important element of overall marketing and you make a good point that it does not receive enough attention from marketing teams who are often too focused on traditional advertising like radio, print and television. The WOMF seems like an interesting site – though a question that came up for me immediately while reading it was how popular the site actually was in South Africa. In looking at most of the ratings for the “top rated” business, they tend to only have between 10 and 20 votes depending on the region of South Africa. Do you feel this is a lot or a little in this space? What might be keeping adoption of a site like this back? Are there any competitors focused on a similar market? These are the sorts of questions that might help you to dig deeper into this subject to look at what you find and be more critical about it so we can see more of your point of view on it. As it stands, your post was not as connected to South Africa specifically and needed more focus on that in order to really answer the question for this week. Without that focus on what made this a great site for South Africa and what sorts of brands might be great candidates to try and use this site, your post had the start of a thought but didn’t complete it. (3)

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