Do you believe the word of mouth myth? – Inside INdiana Business

I will run into business owners in networking functions who insist they don’t need to advertise or market because their business will grow entirely from word of mouth. At this point I know their business won’t last long.

I’ll admit it: there are those outliers who have become wildly successful just by existing. This will not happen with the vast majority of businesses. Giving in to word of mouth is usually deadly.

What do I mean by the word-of-mouth myth? There is a misconception that a company’s customers will promote the business so enthusiastically that the owner just has to sit back and wait for the money to come. And the best part? It’s free. You don’t have to spend a single penny to promote the business through advertising, unlike those unfortunates who just don’t know any better.

Word of mouth is real. Frankly, it can be a particularly powerful growth generator. When a new customer places an order because friends or colleagues have praised you, they are pre-sold and already convinced that they will be satisfied.

But that doesn’t make it a magical spell that happens automatically. If it did, you wouldn’t be reading a business newsletter article right now. You’ll be on your way to an exotic location in your Gulfstream V.

Why doesn’t the magic work? Because we have busy markets. Even when they try to dismiss competitors as inferior copycats, most companies have more competitors than they like—and they know those competitors are aggressively pursuing the same prospects, not to mention your own valuable customers.

The markets are getting louder. Your customers and prospects are swimming in a vast sea of ​​thousands of marketing messages in every direction, with new marketing channels popping up everywhere. As the volume increases, it drowns out the people sitting there quietly whispering, “Please pay attention to me.” Those enthusiastic testimonials from current customers? They must swim against the current against the stream of competing messages.

You can make word of mouth a powerful tool for your business, but only if you’re not naive enough to think of it as magical and miraculous. You just need to create and encourage word of mouth. how? Through some concepts called marketing, advertising, promotion, public relations and customer service.

And no, they’re not the old-fashioned way. They have long been the seeds and fertilizers that spawn healthy word-of-mouth in the marketplace.

Running an ad isn’t like lighting a fuse that will cause a huge business explosion. But a well-thought-out, well-coordinated program will raise your profile and reputation in the marketplace. Potential customers will take a closer look at you and choose to try what you have to offer. If they like what they find, they’ll start telling others, and you’ll start to see word of mouth become a growing share of your business.

Maintaining word of mouth requires constant effort to maintain your profile and reputation with your current customers. This will keep them coming back to your door despite competitors trying to lure them in other directions.

Not magic. It’s not easy or cheap. But unlike word of mouth, it’s actually effective.

You don’t have to give up on your dream of customers flocking to your doors. You just have to let go of the fantasy that it will magically happen.

Scott Flood creates effective copy for companies and other organizations. His guide to evaluating freelance creative talent, The Smarter Strategy for Selecting Suppliers, can be downloaded from

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