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Word of Mouth vs. Word of Mouth Marketing

The subtle difference

Word of mouth is as old as language. It is the passing of information from one person to another and, since pre-historic times, people have relied on it to determine what to try. As a result, word of mouth can be considered the oldest form of marketing.


But when used in the context of marketing, word of mouth (WOM) has two different definitions. In this article we will look at the difference between organic Word of Mouth (WOM) and Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM).


Word of Mouth:

WOM is when users of a product/ service voluntarily share their experience with others and is usually a result of them being extremely satisfied. The spreading of information is purely organic and not strategically planned by a brand. As a result, it is viewed as earned-media of which a brand does not pay a cent for. Organic WOM is extremely effective as people inherently trust the opinion of their peers and value it for its authenticity.


Word of Mouth Marketing:

WOMM, on the contrary, is strategically planned by a brand with the intention of increasing sales and revenue. It involves brands actively influencing and/or encouraging organic WOM, which is often achieved through either incentivizing users to leave reviews or drive referrals, or working with influencers to promote a product or service. A key benefit of WOMM is that it is not limited to one interaction. It has a snowball effect where people will share information with their contacts, who will pass on to theirs and so forth. As a result, while it does not always require marketing investment, the ROI can be very rewarding.


There are benefits to both types of WOMM and should both be incorporated into a marketing strategy to strengthen brand loyalty and trust. To learn more about how brands can build a WOMM strategy click here.


WOMM is most influential when consumers are either looking to purchase a product for the first time or are facing a more complex purchasing situation, for example when products are expensive, or consumers incur factors that require them to conduct more research/ seek opinions of others.


At The Brand Foundry, we can help you strategize and execute your marketing for best results. If you need help with boosting your brand’s impact, book a free consultation with us.

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