Americans value offline word of mouth recommendations 41% more
than online word of mouth. #ChatterMatters
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The number of the day today is 41.
41 is the name of a great Dave Matthews Band song. It is the
atomic number of niobium. The longest and last symphony written by
Mozart is Symphony No 41. And it’s the Guinness World Record for
the most peopled crammed into a large car, achieved in 2015 in
Krasnoyarsk, Russia. In case you are wondering, they crammed into a
The number 41 is relevant to
word of mouth marketing. Let me explain.
When it comes to getting recommendations on what to buy,
we rely on both online word of mouth—like social media and review
sites—and offline word of mouth—suggestions from our
friends and family. When you compare online and offline word of
mouth, the overall volume of conversation is similar, but offline
word of mouth is more persuasive. According to our word of mouth
Matters, Americans value offline word of mouth 41% more than
online word of mouth.
There is a corner of the business world that believes social
media IS word of mouth, or that social media has replaced word of
mouth as the driver of consumer awareness and preference. I am here
to tell you that it isn’t, and it hasn’t.
Corners of the business world believe social media IS word of
mouth or has replaced word of mouth as the driver of consumer
awareness. It isn’t. And it hasn’t. #ChatterMatters
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Think about it.
In social media, everyone’s life is curated, like a museum of
the mundane. Think of your friends that post videos of an amazing
concert they went to, but don’t post anything when they attend a
washed-up reunion rock band show at the local bowling alley. Our
motivation to post on social media is, to some extent, anchored in
a desire to show life’s wow factors
We are more authentic offline. We tell our friends about the
washed-up rock band show. We also convey our real feelings about
brands and experiences. That’s why offline word of mouth is more
persuasive. We believe it’s genuine.
Word of Mouth Isn’t Magic
Word of mouth is equally popular among givers and receivers.
It’s the motivating factor in the purchases of more than four out
of five Americans. The same percentage have made a
word of mouth recommendation to someone else.
But for some reason, marketers tend to believe word of mouth
happens magically or needs to be prodded along with stunts. Rather
than take a happenstance approach, we have a strategic word of
mouth solution. It’s called a
talk trigger. A talk trigger is not a stunt, it’s a
conversation strategy. It’s doing word of mouth on purpose,
instead of randomly. Here are the four key requirements of a talk
1. A Talk Trigger Must Be Remarkable
If it’s not worth remarking on, it’s not a talk trigger.
Lower prices are not a talk trigger. You must stand out.
2. A Talk Trigger Must Be Relevant
Doing something just to get noticed isn’t necessarily a talk
trigger. Changing the color of your packaging to lime green might
be remarkable, but is it relevant in any way to your
3. A Talk Trigger Must Be Reasonable
A talk trigger is a conversation catalyst but it is also
reasonable enough to be trusted. When you overpromise—or when
consumers perceive you to be overpromising—it depresses
participation in your talk trigger and creates a longer-term
spillover effect that diminishes brand trust in the future.
A talk trigger must be reasonable enough to be trusted. When you
overpromise—or when consumers perceive you to be
overpromising—it depresses participation in your talk
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4. A Talk Trigger Must Be Repeatable
This one is easy. A talk trigger is available to every customer,
every time. If it’s something that has terms, conditions,
qualifying criteria or is reserved for influencers only, it’s not
a talk trigger.
Get the most recent word of mouth data available to marketers
and download the complete Chatter Matters report.
Interested in creating a talk trigger for your business? Get my new
book, Talk Triggers,
which I co-authored with Daniel Lemin.
Chatter Matters is a proprietary word of mouth report produced
by Convince & Convert Consulting and the research firm,
Audience Audit. It examines the word of mouth attitudes of 1,001
randomly selected Americans. The margin of error is approximately
+/- 3.1%. Chatter Matters is a companion piece to the new book,
Talk Triggers: The Complete
Guide to Creating Customers with Word-of-Mouth.