Categorized | Business


Word of Mouth

By Tom Irmen

It’s rare indeed when a start-up business doesn’t describe for me what will be their reliance on word of mouth advertising as the foundation for their future success.

While there is no denying that word of mouth advertising has played an important role in the success of many small businesses, it has no doubt played an even greater role in the failure of many more businesses that relied upon it exclusively. I think that most small businesses that state their reliance on word of mouth, staking their future success on its ability to produce both future customers and revenue, do so out of either a lack of understanding of their marketplace or the lack of resources needed to implement a well thought-out marketing strategy.

I’ll be the first to admit that word of mouth advertising has played an integral role in the success of our publishing business, but the true catalyst to this successful word of mouth campaign has been a sustained marketing strategy during several years which combined print, radio, online, and networking platforms.

Small business owners often cite a business who, relying solely on word of mouth, was able to achieve incredible success. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are few and far between, and citing these exceptions will not overcome the often hard, cold realities of the competitive marketplace that you’re likely to discover.

The reliance on word of mouth advertising for many small businesses may result from economic reality, the inability to finance a more robust marketing campaign. But, it’s not likely to overcome the realities of the marketplace where you will be just one voice in a sea of competing voices.

If corporate giants such as Apple and Coca-Cola find it necessary to advertise to further successfully differentiate themselves, how likely is it that you will achieve your full potential relying solely on word of mouth?

If you’re the exception, congratulations. If you think you’re the exception, be wary. But if you’re like the rest of us, allocate what resources you can, and then invest them wisely. Discover which advertising platform(s) best meets your needs, and then commit to a consistent plan of differentiating your small business to potential new customers. Done well, this strategy will become the catalyst to unleashing the full power of word of mouth that will propel you on to success.

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