Marketers don’t always agree on the best way to achieve results, and Michael Antman takes the contrarian view of a strategy popular with many of his colleagues. “[S]ome businesses, especially on the B2B side, rely far too heavily on organic word-of-mouth strategies and, specifically, on acquiring new customers primarily through referrals,” he says in an article at MarketingProfs. Here are some reasons for his rationale:
Recommendations are subjective and uncontrollable. Antman argues that a referral gets you nothing more than a foot in the door. And that’s assuming your product or service receives accurate representation. “Well-intentioned recommenders may still get your message entirely wrong or characterize you so narrowly that a potential client won’t consider you for an enterprisewide solution.”
Word-of-mouth is limited in reach and easily subverted. The strength of a recommendation weakens with the degree of separation. Further, without a formal way to combat negative word-of-mouth, competitors can diss your company with impunity.
The Po!nt: Antman believes there is no substitute for case studies, sophisticated sales-support tools and mass communications vehicles such as advertising, public relations and print and electronic collateral. “[R]elying on organic word-of-mouth is practically a guaranteed way for a small or medium-sized business to stay small or medium-sized.”