Most people think of word of mouth [WOM] marketing as a direct recommendation. Although this type of marketing has always existed, it isn’t the only form of WOM marketing that can bring in some new business. When people start talking and sharing a product’s message, whether that is advertising, through demonstration, or even in a blog post, then a successful word of mouth marketing campaign has been achieved.
Many brands today are using the combination of social media, television, and humor to create fantastic WOM campaigns that have become very memorable. Here is a look at some of the best examples so that you can take the lessons learned and apply them to your next campaign.
1. Dollar Shave Club
This company hasn’t been around for 5 years yet, but its subscription model is bring in millions of dollars of annual revenue. It’s accomplished this through a very successful word of mouth marketing campaign. It started with a series of YouTube videos that talked about the benefits of their business in a very memorable way. This was followed up with a TV campaign and finished with a social media campaign.
What makes Dollar Shave Club stand out is the humor that touches the average person. With a message that people can “shave time and shave money,” it’s memorable. It only costs people a few bucks per month, so it is affordable. The imagery on the commercials has elements that make people laugh and encourages them to share the actual advertisement on their social feeds. The end result? People are not only talking about this business, but they’re becoming customers.
2. Old Spice
This brand has seen a huge resurgence since they began to focus on a word of mouth marketing campaign for their products. There are many different commercials that people have talked about over the years for this brand, but the beginning of their WOM success can be traced back to 2007. They hired long-time cult favorite Bruce Campbell to not only become the epitome of “manliness,” but discuss the one thing that people needed – Old Spice products.
A full series of commercials were shot and there were humorous elements contained within it that made people pay attention. In one shot, for example, Campbell keeps walking in a luxurious room with a painting of a sailboat behind him that continues on for the length of the wall. The tag “Experience is Everything” comes up with a fireplace automatically being lit. Body wash sales alone totaled almost $2.4 billion between 2007-2012, so their WOM definitely worked.
3. Dos Equis
What would the most interesting man in the world do? The same principles of WOM marketing have been included in the Dos Equis campaigns since 2006 and the marketing efforts are working. In the first month that the brand started their campaign, sales went up 26%. Unlike Old Spice, Dos Equis hasn’t even had to change the actor or what he says. “I don’t always drink beer,” the most interesting man in the world says, “but when I do, I choose Dos Equis.”
Leading up to the catchphrase is a narration and humorous video clips that show something unusual. “When playing baseball,” one advertisement might say, “he plays for both winning teams.” The examples are exaggerated, get people’s attention, and ultimately gets them talking about the advertisement with others at work. That talking leads to buying because people want to try what the most interesting man in the world is drinking. The results? Dos Equis is still the fastest growing beer imported into the United States.
GEICO is the insurance company that is known for coming up with a memorable tag as part of their WOM marketing. Who doesn’t know that 15 minutes can save you up to 15% on your car insurance? It’s such a powerful line that providers like Esurance have duplicated it by saying that 7.5 minutes can save you twice as much on your car insurance.
What makes the GEICO ads a good word of mouth marketing example, however, is the fact that they too have a spokesperson – or spokesgecko if you prefer – that provides the message. He’s a little sarcastic at times, a bit smarmy, but also highly intelligent. Combine the gecko ads with other campaigns, such as the dogs playing poker 15 second spot, and people pay attention. They’ll call the number to get a quote.
The AFLAC duck has done a number of things over the years. He’s even gone through a brand imaging change. Yet through it all, the duck has always been able to communicate a message that people can get money they need for basic expenses when they get hurt and can’t work. Although the message has grown stale over the course of more than a decade, the elements of word of mouth marketing make AFLAC one of the first brands to use this form of marketing in a modern way.
Not only was the duck doing crazy things in the advertisement, but some of the same actors were included in all of the spots as well. People would actually wait to see where the actors would be and in what role and then have a good laugh. That laugh would then transition to speaking with their HR professionals about signing up for a policy.
What makes the word of mouth marketing from Jeep so remarkable is that they’ve been able to include a sense of American patriotism with their efforts. The message of Jeep is that to really explore and achieve your dreams, you’ve got to own a reliable vehicle brand that can take you to the outdoors. The vehicles are shown in all branding messages as being rugged, yet straightforward in their ability to provide a capable set of wheels.
The traits that Jeep markets about itself are the traits that its core customer segments feel about themselves. This shows that with a little research, anyone can begin a WOM marketing campaign that is successful at even the local level. You don’t have to be a tough guy to drive a Jeep, but the message is clear: it doesn’t hurt.
Maybe the most incredible form of word of mouth marketing that exists today comes from this free website. It’s so basic that there are no logos. There’s just links to different products that people put up for free. Even the site looks like a scam. Every year there are news reports of people being robbed and even murdered because of their Craigslist posting. This type of news would destroy most brands, yet Craigslist thrives. Why?
They focus on the customer solely. Instead of ramping up advertising revenues and catering to the needs of big corporations, they focus on providing an affordable experience that people can use with some care. For everyone one negative experience with the brand, there are hundreds of positive ones that drive 50 billion page views every month.
When done right, word of mouth marketing can provide long-term results. Use these examples to inspire your next campaign and you may just find more success headed your way.