Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth can be an effective and powerful marketing tool. It is very attractive to small business because they are perceive it (wrongly) to be free, that it requires no active input or administration on their part. 

Let me tell you about last Friday. 

I needed to buy an additional... The item and the businesses I approached, I will withhold for reasons that will soon become apparent. I will simply say that the item is usually found online or from a specialist independent retailer where they are sold to consumers and local businesses who need these items urgently and cannot wait for an online order to be delivered.  A quick search on the net identified a number of outlets in reasonable proximity. So I nipped out at lunchtime to purchase the items I needed. 

First port of call. 
‘Closed for lunch’. What! A business selling consumer items closed for lunch. The only time of day when most of its clientele can get to the shops, without having to take time of work.

Second option. 
A faded sign in the door read, “Closed.” Yet its web page clearly stated that it was open 9-5 every day except Sunday. No reply to text or phone calls, even their mobile went unanswered. I moved further afield.

Third option. 
(Putting some serious miles on the clock now) “Sorry mate don’t have any.” Ah, on your site it clearly states that you have these in stock. “Nah, have never stocked these.” Oh, you are aware of the trades description act, false and misleading advertising? “Och who’s going to bother” was the only reply.

Fourth option. 
“None left, sold the last one just half an hour ago”. GRRRRRRRRR! 
“But wait a minute, one of our customers holds a stock and with the weekend and all”.  A quick phone call, a promise to restock their customer first thing next week and I am off to an industrial estate to pick up the item I desperately needed. So business 4 wins my recommendation. I’ll leave it to you to guess what I am going to be saying about businesses 1-3 the next time anybody asks where do I get my supplies? 

The moral of this story?  

Word of Mouth cuts both ways. It can make or break your business in an afternoon. 

Although you are not allowed to pay for Word of Mouth advertsing, it certainly isn’t free. You have to go that extra mile to earn it and you have to manage it to ensure that it is up to date, relevant and can be substantiated. Yet a single negative review can easily nullify any number of positive comments.

To make Word of Mouth advertising work for your business you must know how it works. What can and cannot be done to encourage it and how to manage it. Just waiting for someone to recomend you can take a very long time, unless you know how to jog their memory. If something happens to damage your reputation your must be aware of what has happened and know how to manage it. How to turn even negitive comments to your advantage. This is where commercial advertising consultants and agencies come in, helping you make the most of any oppotunities you have to market your business. Don't leave your advertising and marketing to chance, take control, start making your business work for you.

Gavin Bryan-Tansley Owner Vid-FX+

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