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Internet Marketing: Is Word of Mouth Advertising Dead?

Word of mouth advertising has been the mainstay of targeted advertising since time immemorial. Conventional word of mouth advertising is when communication and recommendations are done orally between friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, vendors, and clients. There was a time when if you were bothered with a company or service or in contrast, happy with the service and/or product, you would pick up the phone and let your friends and family know about it. With the advent of the internet, marketing has certainly changed- and so has the way people communicate. Word of mouth advertising has surely changed by leaps and bounds but is it really dead?


The answer is ‘no’! Communication channels have evolved along with evolution of the Internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and LinkedIn, among others. The way word of mouth advertising is practiced in its current form has changed and access to the Internet and its use for communication is one of the main reasons that invoked this change. People still talk to each other but the medium of communication is no longer the spoken word but social media networking platforms and written posts and tweets.

Involving & Empowering Through Social Media

Social media marketing is the new face of word of mouth advertising. The head of Marketing for Microsoft, Mitch Mathews, has encapsulated the idea of this change aptly by saying, “We’re shifting significant ad dollars to digital media. This is the era of customer participation. The old model was ‘informing, persuading, and reminding’, the new model is ‘demonstrating, involving and empowering.’” This is achieved by business social media marketing where users can access consumer reviews, recommendations, and complaints while businesses have a chance to get involved with the customers and offer better standards of customer service.

Why social media? One of the primary reasons why social media marketing is the new face of effective marketing and advertising is that social media platforms have phenomenal reach. People from all over the world can access tweets and posts which are often, recommendations or complaints. The power of advertising and social media marketing has moved into the hands of the people.

Numbers Talk

Statistics show that word of mouth advertising through social media marketing is not dead at all; in fact, it is thriving; 2/3rds of the U.S. economy is driven by word of mouth advertising, 92 percent of people have confidence in the information and reviews that they read online compared to anything that company officials and salespeople actually tell them (Wall Street Journal, January 2009) and 97 percent of people who choose to buy a product after reading online reviews found the review opinions to be accurate and correct (Comscore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007). If it’s not obvious by now- social media marketing needs to be a large component of your internet marketing plan.

The Power Of Social Media

Consumers are looking for reviews and opinions of other users online so this is where business advertising and internet marketing needs to be targeted. Business social media marketing is the way to gain loyal customers today and in the future. Social media marketing stands apart from regular advertising because it has the capacity to generate interaction and involvement making advertising transparent and completely authentic.