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Word of Mouth Advertising: Is it Enough?

There’s a lot to be said regarding the power of word of mouth (WOM) advertising and how it can help a business grow. All a business owner needs to do is to deliver the best service and products so they will better their chances for repeat business. And with that, the customers they have today will go and tell their friends about their experience tomorrow. And those friends will tell their friends and so on and so on. It may take days or months or even years to build their business this way.

Word of mouth is definitely a key factor for a business’s advertising strategy, but it is it enough to sustain their brand and expand their reach? That’s the dilemma. Of course, WOM doesn’t cost anything so it is very appealing to the bottom line! But in today’s competitive market, businesses need to incorporate a consistent approach using traditional and non-traditional advertising to keep their business on top of mind which goes along with their word of mouth reputation.

I remember a conversation I had many years ago with a very conservative business owner whose family owned company was a cornerstone of their community for many years. We talked for quite a while about his business, about the trends in the market and the challenges faced. At that time, he was hesitant to invest a lot of his hard earned money into advertising because everybody knew them and he had a long line of repeat customers.

I may have been bold in saying this, but I said, "Can you stand on one foot?" He looked at me and said, "Well, yes, of course I can!" I then said, "OK, so…go ahead. Now, how long can you stand on one foot? And how far will you get?" It was a funny moment when he chuckled and understood my meaning. His business could stand on one foot by just relying on WOM advertising, but he wouldn’t be able to sustain that for long or ever expect to grow his business in a way that would allow them to increase their market share.

I’m happy to say that this particular business owner did eventually begin to ramp up their advertising to reach new customers and enhance their relationship with their existing customers. They continued to deliver great service and products, they expanded their business and today the next generation is carrying on the tradition. Is your business ready to put both feet on the ground or are you still trying to hop on one foot?


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