Word of Mouth Marketing: Storytelling That Can Help or Hurt Any Business

Word of mouth marketing has long been seen as one of the most effective tools for any business. Studies routinely show that people trust those closest to them to offer advice and recommendations about everything from a good book to read, the best grocery store to use, and even the doctor they should see. At its core, word of mouth marketing is simply storytelling. We have a natural tendency to create narratives for events in our life. Most of us love to share these stories, when given the opportunity.

I was recently sitting at the car dealership as my vehicle was in for an oil change and state inspection. Prepared for the hour wait, I had my laptop open and was happily taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. When two additional people sat down, they struck up a conversation about medical care. In the span of only minutes, I learned that both had knee replacement surgery; where they each had it done; how their recovery had gone. What’s more, I discovered that the both had spouses who had recent rotator cuff surgeries; where those were performed and how they each felt about the care that was provided.

When one woman mentioned the name of her husband’s surgery, my ears perked up and I couldn’t help but join the conversation. This is because my husband recently had knee surgery with the same orthopedic surgeon. I was able to chime in about his experience. Fortunately, all was positive and for anyone else sitting in the room, this surgeon received a ringing endorsement.

What would someone else overhearing the (now three way) conversation take away from this exchange? This particular surgeon was associated with a great personality; low pain levels after surgery; easy recovery, even immediately following surgery. And the hospital where the surgery took place also received high marks for having staff that are friendly, good food and a lot of expertise.

Businesses need to think about what they want their narrative to be. While it is not practical to script that story for every client/customer/patient; the power of that narrative should not be underestimated. Positive stories are great, but negative stories can be just as powerful too. In fact, the negative stories are far more likely to be shared widely.

The work you do; the services you provide; the relationships you develop (whether over years or in minutes while waiting on car service) – they all contribute the stories that are unfolding all around us.

How will you create the kind of story that drives your business?

For more information about how VanInk can help you tell your story, contact kim@vanink.ink.


Word of Mouth Marketing: Storytelling That Can Help or Hurt Any Business