If you enter WOM into acronymfinder.com, you will be greeted with an endless list of meanings. The list includes such highlights as:
- Women of Minecraft
- Wheel of mediocrity
- World of Minecraft
- Web object management
- Women over mates
Even more confusingly, if you look for WOM on a search engine, you will likely be greeted by articles about the secret definition of this new word. What is that all about?
First, used by 17-year-old TikTok content creator AvaJC, the word WOM has been used across social media and Twitch without users knowing the definitive meaning.
So, when your boss mentions the need to "invest in WOM," are they actually suggesting creating a virtual world constructed from pixelated blocks? Or are they trying to be down with the kids by using the freshest slang?
Let’s face it: the chances are they aren't. It is much more likely that they are referring to word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM).
Come with us as we find out the marketing definition of this acronym and understand what it could mean for your business.
Meaning of WOM
In the introduction, we mentioned that "WOM" is often used as an abbreviation for "word-of-mouth." But what does the term actually mean?
That is a fantastic question. It refers to the domino effect that occurs when individuals start to share information, recommendations, opinions, or experiences with members of their social circle.
Example: Game of Thrones
Let’s think of a real-life example of WOM in action. Have you ever heard of a little show called Game of Thrones? Now, arguably, this mega-hit had every reason to be a complete and utter failure for the following reasons:
- High fantasy genre
- Complex storytelling
- Adaptation of book
- A large cast of characters
- Strong blood and violence
- Launched into a competitive landscape
- Lack of star power
Yeah, when you look at it on paper, it doesn’t seem like it would be everyone’s cuppa tea.
And at launch, this was true; the first season racked in a modest 9.3 million viewers. But then something truly incredible happened. News about this incredible show spread like wildfire across the globe, infiltrating different demographics and social circles.
In offices, you would find coworkers huddled around the water cooler, chatting about the latest jaw-dropping plot twist. School playgrounds were ablaze with discussion, with kids animatedly reenacting action scenes. And on social media and forums, fans were concocting wild and wacky theories about their most beloved characters.
By the start of season six, it seemed like everyone and their Nana was screaming ‘dracarys’ at their screens. In fact, the final season saw a whopping 46 million viewers tune in, which is 20 million more than the entire population of Australia. Forget about the power of dragon fire; the true force of nature in the seven kingdoms is WOM.
Types of WOM
It is important to note that WOM comes in three distinct flavors, which are:
- Positive: Oh yeah, now this is the good stuff. These are positive recommendations brimming with enthusiasm and genuine excitement for a brand.
- Neutral: Welcome to the world of meh. This is a recommendation without heart and soul. Sure, that brand was fine, but it didn’t wow me or leave me with a taste of dissatisfaction.
- Negative: Oh, now, this is far from ideal. These harsh criticisms from dissatisfied customers are the kryptonite of any successful marketing strategy.
Different types of different WOMM strategies
There are a multitude of different strategies of WOMM that can be organized into two categories:
- Organic: This happens when happy customers willingly share their experiences with friends, family, or colleagues without intervention from a brand.
- Amplified: This is when brands utilize different strategies and incentives to encourage positive endorsements.
Check out the table below for a breakdown of the most impactful marketing strategies around.
When gossip meets marketing magic
So, there we have it, the definitive definition of WOM for us marketers. With that done and dusted, it is time to ride the marketing hype train into the station.
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