Word-of-Mouth: Why the Oldest Marketing Method Still Rules

Money talks in marketing. The idea of paid acquisition is understood well enough to have figures attached. For instance, according to analytic research, the average cost of a new customer in e-commerce is $70, with the price increasing dramatically to $536 in B2B circles. 

This is why organic and word-of-mouth marketing is so valuable. Once the initial onboarding is done, it cuts costs. 

“Friend Power”

Defined, simply, as one person talking to another, word-of-mouth marketing gets its fame from a Nielsen study that revealed 92% of respondents trust a recommendation from a friend or loved one. It’s almost impossible for a business to replicate this kind of promise, i.e. one that isn’t guided by profit.

Research indicates that “friend power” is even more effective at marketing than the voice of a media personality. Shopify claims that only 69% of people trust recommendations from a famous figure, suggesting that close familiarity with somebody is essential for word of mouth to work. 

Of course, regardless of its effectiveness, word of mouth is a fickle business. There’s no way to force somebody to preach about their favorite operating system or flower delivery service, and some industries lend themselves better to conversation, like entertainment and sports.

It’s unwise to invest too heavily – perhaps at all – in such an unlikely ally as word of mouth, which is why most businesses find other ways to find their audience. 

Onboarding Efforts

One study claims that 71% of people aged 65 and over – the “silver” consumer – are more likely to prefer print media above all else. This means that digital marketing will be less effective at capturing the attention of older generations than a newspaper. 

However, over time traditional techniques will evolve and sometimes disappear from the marketer’s toolbox as digital-savvy generations age.

Promotions, often combined with affiliate marketing, tend to form the backbone of onboarding efforts in the online casino industry, otherwise known as iGaming. The most visible part of this puzzle is New Jersey, which introduced online gambling in 2013. NJ casino promotions offer incentives for newcomers, either to give first-timers a way of sampling the experience before committing or to provide veterans with more bang for their buck, especially given the weight of competition in the market.

Research suggests that many large iGaming companies did not use paid ads during their formative days, again, suggesting that marketing efforts aren’t one-size-fits-all. 

Personalized Experiences

As mentioned, word of mouth is difficult to harness – and the advice given to stuck businesses is trite. For instance, tricks like “use social media”, “provide customer service”, and “analyze results” all qualify as common sense. 

The truth is that working with such a nebulous concept as natural, human conversation will never be easy. Research still encourages personalized experiences or, to put that another way, persuading customers that companies truly do understand their customer base.