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Give guests something to talk about

31 May 2007
Give guests something to talk about

We all do it. It's more effective than advertising, can be better than promotions, is more powerful than almost any other form of marketing… and it's free. Word-of-mouth marketing empowers your guests to share their experience for the good of your business.

Studies show that people talk about products and services in around 14-27% of their communications. We all like to give friends and colleagues advice, be it positive or negative.

This is not always a direct "You must eat at this restaurant", but can be relating something interesting, noteworthy or fascinating about your business. Giving people something to talk about sows the seed.

The concept makes sense: I tell a friend, who tells another friend and it grows, all through the favourable statement of just one customer.

Research indicates each of us is acquainted with up to 250 people: cascaded, that's a huge expanded network. Trust drives word of mouth and delivers your business a friendly, credible referral from an independent person making an honest and enthusiastic statement.

It's in your interests to develop a consistent strategy for your product and a distinctive component to differentiate your offering - you need to create a story to tell. Every business regardless of industry sector needs a unique selling point, be it a signature dish, service, the provenance of ingredients, wines or whatever inspired idea you generate.

Word of mouth is not new and travels on its own, and it's a great way to cut through the increasing ways that we're communicated with.

The number of general marketing messages a consumer would be exposed to 20 years ago is estimated at about 300 a day, but today it can be up to 3,000 and is increasing, so it's no surprise we feel overwhelmed.

That's why today's consumers look to the word-of-mouth channel as something to take notice of and trust people do business where there's a valuable source of credibility, and it needs to be a powerful component in your marketing programme.

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