Is word of mouth the holy grail of B2B marketing?

When word of mouth marketing heads online there’s plenty of scope for your small business to make the most of recommendations and a positive reputation. Simon Lawrence highlight how your B2B maketing strategy can benefit from word of mouth online.

5th November 2008 at 12:51 pm

A study of US and UK business executives unsurprisingly found that word of mouth (WOM) is far more influential than any other communications channel in B2B purchasing decisions.

But did you know WOM is on average twice as influential as advertising, direct mail or press coverage in B2B circles? So how can you get the best from personal recommendations?

One way, of course, is to make the most of your opportunities online.

As a starting point you could check out Dell’s recently created Facebook community called Social Media for Small Business. The site features advice on how to use blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ‘crowdsourcing’ and other social media channels.

Of course there are hundreds of other excellent sites with plenty of information on how to get the best from social media – a topic that SmallBizPod itself covers regularly.

The popularity of LinkedIn is also gradually taking off with over 1 million UK registered users announced in October last year.

As of May 2008, it had more than 24 million registered users, spanning 150 industries. Imagine the networking opportunities! Get yourself registered and start making connections.

If you haven’t taken part in much B2B social networking you might be a little unsure of how exactly to make the most of services like LinkedIn. Fear not, advice is on hand.

Guy Kawasaki the managing director of a venture capital firm has written a great blog post on how to give your LinkedIn profile a makeover.

With all the positive elements that word of mouth can bring, don’t take your eye off the ball. It’s just as easy for a negative recommendation to have the reverse effect.

This is a very real concern in an age of online forums, social networking sites and blogs.

If you can afford it, you could get yourself a PR agency to monitor and manage the reputation of your business, although representing yourself and your own business in this highly connected world is vital too.

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, sign up for Google Alerts. These are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, blogs, etc.) based on your choice of query.

Your inbox might look like it’s thrown up on itself as the e-mail alerts start to filter through, but it’s a great way of keeping up to date on pretty much everything that’s written about your business.

Personal recommendation is the biggest catalyst for making a purchase not only in the consumer market place but also in the business arena. But unlike consumers, businesses don’t do retail therapy.

Business decision makers want the reassurance that their intended outlay comes with a trusted recommendation, so make sure your target market is talking about you.

Simon Lawrence

Simon is the founder and CEO of Information Arts one of the UK's leading business-to-business marketing consultancies set up in 2000. Simon has over 17 years experience within the industry and is widely regarded as a leading expert in businesses marketing to other businesses.

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  1. […] next few years in the small business sector – go read it.  While you’re at SmallBizPod, also check out Alex’s take on Social Networking sites, especially the growth figures he gives for LinkedIn – one of the originals going back to the […]

  2. Anton Loos says:

    Hi Simon,

    I loved your article about word of mouth marketing in B2B. We are an advertising agency (BBC in Antwerp) and testimonials and recommendations of our clients is very important. I discovered a new site to get recommendations from my clients automatically ( I guess the site is still developing and the demo is not so good, but I love to work with it and already have a lot of references (I normally would not have dared to ask for):
    It is becoming our way to get word of mouth on the internet.


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