Word of Mouth can be said in other words as “personal recommendation” or “what is said”. IT is actually unpaid advertising (promotion) of the product distribution through spoken or written, verbal communication between existing and potential customers.
WOM is a marketing method which within the marketing mix belongs into the communication mix. Word of Mouth Marketing has two extreme forms:
- Spontaneous WOM - occurs spontaneously due to the activities of the users and supporters of the brand or product without direct motivation of the producer
- Artificial WOM - is artificially induced (i.e. not spontaneous) by marketing activity of the producer or advertising agency
WOM usually uses following communication channels:
- Spoken verbal communication - direct conversation or phone call
- Written verbal communication - the electronic communication is the most applied form (internet, e-mail, SMS, instant communicators…)
From the psychological point of view, it can be considered more effective the spontaneous WOM because it is more natural. Man praises what he really believes. The effectiveness of artificial WOM leads to the debate. There is a consensus that it must be a quality product, respectively brand. Despite a number of reservations and criticisms, many producers and advertising agencies actually use the artificial WOM.
Note: We are equipped with innate and learned mechanisms of the social communication, which help us determine what we believe and what we do not believe. We are all to some extent resistant to the manipulation, on the other hand, we are all manipulated. In our view, the artificial WOM should be limited to creating conditions for the emergence of spontaneous WOM (e.g. setting up discussion forums on the manufacturer’s web site, supporting users communities, etc.). The risk of the intensive artificial WOM lies in the fact that the recipients can see that they are manipulated and react negatively.