Are You Keeping Current on the Growing Influence and Applications of Word-of-Mouth? Have You Heard Of Explovia?

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As I’ve long believed, and seen reconfirmed by study after study, it’s voluntary, consumer-generated and uncompensated word of mouth (with recommendation as a subset, or downstream result) that has the most direct and indirect influence on b2b and b2c consumer decision-making behavior.

In the past, some marketers might have overlooked the importance of word of mouth as both the hammer and saw in their toolbox, but no longer. Today, the availability of mobile channels, coupled with online and offline informal communication, makes this one of the best marketing investments for building customer interest and loyalty behavior.

Though much of word of mouth continues to take place offline, we’re getting to the point where mobile messaging apps, to facilitate consumer WOM, have gotten very advanced. The challenge for brands, if they really want to achieve the equivalent of targeted door-to-door coverage, is to focus on generating relevant content, and influencing and creating consumer conversations (and original content) by utilizing the most effective channels for tactical delivery, and integrating new marketing technologies to drive high ROI.

An example of a company doing this well is Zillow, the online real estate company that connects home buyers, property managers, and tenants. In addition to the features offered on its web site, Zillow publishes over 30 articles per week, and syndicates them across multiple media sites. The organization’s word-of-mouth strategy is built on generating and owning content which identifies the company as a trusted and valuable resource.

Other marketing technologies utilized for building word of mouth are marketing automation and social communities. Social communities are particularly interesting because they go beyond social listening, and can publish group-focused content and respond to social conversations almost in real-time. These social capabilities are, in addition, now connecting to customer service channels and call centers, enabling them to rapidly route and respond to digital customer conversations.

One of the latest companies to use new digital technologies is Explovia, a U.K. company which provides users (initially on iPhone) a list of curated events in London. The Explovia app enables users to do things like purchase tickets and also invite friends to participate through its completely free messaging function. Explovia is designed for b2c consumers, and is particularly applicable for food and beverage, lodging, entertainment, sports, and retailing organizations.

Jason Keiles, Explovia’s managing director, described the concept and strategy behind this app in a March, 2014 interview:

“The ultimate ambition with Explovia is to create a new kind of mobile network that fosters word of mouth excitement around brand content. Right now, we’re starting with events, which are inherently social, but we want to grow Explovia into a medium where users spark conversations over topics that are really important to them, like where to go out, but also what to wear, what to buy, and what to listen to.”

Thus, Explovia becomes a lifestyle enabler for its network of users.

In explaining the need and potential for Explovia, Keiles noted: “As Explovia scales, and sparks more conversations, we hope to connect our users together over shared passions for brands and their content” It’s a word of mouth iteration set up specifically to leverage users’ interests for marketing purposes. So, if you appreciate the value and ROI contribution of word of mouth, and if you are following its trends, you might also do well to follow Explovia. Chances are, if Explovia’s business model is successful in London, it will be expanding to other European metros, and eventually to the U.S.

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