Feb 18, 2016 7:43:19 PM by Edwin Raymond

The Limitations of Word of Mouth in Growing Your Business

B2B Lead Generation, B2b Social Media, Business Networking, B2b Inbound Marketing

In the market service providers sell and clients buy, it all comes down to this one simple equation, right? But which services get sold and which remain stale? Among the wide variety of services not all are sold equal. But what makes that vital difference? There are many factors that cause the difference. One of the major factors is found to be the word of mouth phenomenon. 

Word of mouth is a marketing term that denotes the overall consumer response. To tell in simple words it is what the customers of a service asserts their experience with that particular service. Then their opinions are passed to others influencing their choice of purchase. Thus word of mouth is a free advertising process where the product is self advertised through the word of the clients.

Word of mouth and referrals for marketing

Word of mouth certainly has its benefits. If your marketing venture clicks and wins over some hardcore fans, the free advertiser will start working and your sales will start increasing. It’s the basic principle of word of mouth marketing. Besides, with the all-encompassing presence of the social media in today’s world, not to mention particularly the world of marketing, word of mouth marketing has gained a great deal of weight and value. Because in the social media news, views and opinions run fast and reach all in the shortest possible time and word of mouth becomes a pivotal factor that causes the difference in sales among various services.

In spite of all of its benefits it is not wise to depend on it as your sole marketing strategy because of its various limitations. So, whenever you are dependent on word of mouth as your primary marketing strategy for winning new business your way, you should check out some of the limiting factors that you are dealing with.

Lack of Control 

While businesses advertise their services they are in full control of their message in what they communicate and how they communicate. Besides they have the complete authority over the message they want to convey. But in case of word of mouth marketing the advertisers are not sales rep or digital marketers, they are the users or consumers of the products or services. And upon their opinion nobody else has any control. For biases or for mere personal preferences a good service may turn out to be referred as bad- resulting in an unfair reputation.

Negative Feedback effect

Usually, whom would you believe more, the voice of the TV commercials or the voice of your friend or a colleague telling you to buy this or not to buy that? Of course you will believe your friend. Thus word of mouth surely gains trust but the same works for negative feedbacks and even more severely. It has been found in several researches that the impact of negative feedbacks lasts longer and is more severe than positive feedbacks. Take a glance at some of the researches here – 


Acts Slowly

Naturally, word of mouth spreads slowly. It takes time for your reputation to cascade from one person to another, as traditionally it is a one on one communication based marketing. Even though you can use your social media platforms to speed it up and to spread your word of mouth rapidly, but in that case it will lack the personal touch of traditional word of mouth.

Tracking Issues

One more drawback of word of mouth is that it offers no scope to track business growth. Though you can always ask your customers how they heard about your services but this only will give you information about those who responded to the word of mouth positively and this is not enough. It is also necessary to track the messages and their path through which they reached the customer. Besides, information about those who responded negatively or did not respond at all also is necessary to understand consumer psychology and to plan your marketing strategies accordingly.

All of this ultimately comes to the fact that you can’t just make the word of mouth business strategy your primary tool for consistent business expansion. Word of mouth is one part of a marketing strategy.

B2b Inbound Marketing

You need a whole range of business development tools that compliment word of mouth for successfully expanding your business; and for gaining potential new businesses it is essential to have a full new business development team like Floodlight New Marketing. Many clients come to us because they have relied on word of mouth to long and when their sales funnel slows down or drops off, they look to us to provide help building a consistent sales funnel.

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