Do you Word Of Mouth in B2B?

Mike Moran in his Biznology blog promoting the Word of Mouth book from Andy Sernovitz claims:
“Word of mouth marketing is inexpensive and effective. If it’s not part of your plans, you’re giving your competitors an edge that you might regret.”

We doubt if word of mouth marketing is really:


In many cases, it is supported by paid advertising campaign or massive emailing campaign, like the case of MySpace. Read Tyler Walicek’s MySpace Saga Post.


if you get the word of mouth rolling, then it is a multiplication of what you have invested, else it gets forgotten. However the likelihood of success must be very low.
Thus effective, but there is a big risk of being unsuccessful involved, thus not efficient.

Part of marketing plans:

Your normal marketing and the word of mouth message need to correspond.

Giving competition an edge:

This is completely true: any competitor with a good viral campaign will set you back considerably.

Reasons for Word Of Mouth in B2B

According to Marketing Pilgrim the Word of Mouth is the most influential in B2B with 53% of respondents.
Influences on Work-Related Purchases of US Business Decision-Makers, April 2007 - % of all respondents
Word-of-mouth (WOM) gets executives to buy, according to the “Driving Word of Mouth Advocacy Among Business Executives: The Experiential Marketing Connection” report, conducted by the Keller Fay Group and sponsored by Jack Morton Worldwide.

Half of those surveyed said that WOM would both get them to buy and pass along the word themselves.
That word gets spread in most cases face to face (75%), secondly telephone (19%).

Thus it is not the emails we all have in mind. These are probably B2C campaigns.

As Andy Sernovitz points out, Word Of Mouth does work in B2B

Methods in B2B for viral or Word Of Mouth require an investment in money or time:

– Online games: costly to setup and to run
– A video clip: very expensive
o a warning message (fear sells and gets propelled)
o an intelligent comedy (Microsoft “The Break up” looks like a trailer of a romance comedy)
– Reacting upon a negative fact concerning your service and turn it into positive (not evident to do – PR agency needed)
– Free stuff to use or copy: they all require an investment of time even if you have the talent, ability or the infrastructure in place, or a lot of money.
o widgets
o useful web service
o graphs and charts
o cartoons

The World Of Mouth Marketing organization (WOMMA) defines WOM as:
– Buzz Marketing: Using entertainment or news to get people to talk about your brand.
– Viral Marketing: Creating entertaining or informative messages to be passed along (mostly by email)
– Community Marketing: Forming or supporting niche communities
– Grassroots Marketing: Organizing and motivating volunteers to engage in personal or local outreach.
– Evangelist Marketing: Cultivating evangelists, or advocates, encouraged to take a leadership role.
– Product Seeding: Placing the right product into the right hands at the right time.
– Influencer Marketing: Identifying key communities and opinion leaders who have the ability to influence.
– Cause Marketing: Supporting social causes to earn respect & support from people who feel strongly about it.
– Conversation Creation: Interesting or fun advertising, emails, catch phrases, entertainment, or promotions
– Brand Blogging: Creating and participating in blogs in the spirit of open, transparent communications.
– Referral Programs: Creating tools that enable satisfied customers to refer their friends.

In our view their best conclusion is:
“Word of Mouth marketing cannot be faked.”

Competition from B2C

Word of mouth campaigns in B2B require a quite different approach than B2C campaigns.
Not to forget: every person in B2B is used to the B2C viral events and campaigns, thus in order to create a viral effect in B2B the level of B2C needs to be reached.

Do you have competition marketing with Word Of Mouth in B2B? Tell us about.


2 Responses to “Do you Word Of Mouth in B2B?”

  • Lloyd Duggan says:

    You’re absolutely right in concluding that word of mouth marketing cannot be faked, particularly in the B2B space. Businesses must generate word of mouth the old fashion way, by earning it through producing innovative products and/or world class customer service. Organic word of mouth is easier to sustain because it is natural to the organization. Amplified word of mouth or the word of mouth that is driven by gimmicks is better suited for some B2C, but overall it’s better to have people speak positive because of the way you do business not the way you ran a short term campaign. Great job!

  • uberVU - social comments says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by LEADSExplorer: Ever wondered ? : Do you Word Of Mouth in B2B?

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