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Word of Mouth Marketing relies on reputation not branding

The premise of my post is that B2B marketing and B2C marketing are different.  B2B must stop copying B2C – we’re not Coca-Cola, Disney or McDonald’s – so let’s stop acting like it! 

When it comes to word of mouth marketing (WOM), I’ve observed that many B2B marketers, marketing blogs and the media seem overly concerned about brand building.  They have it wrong.  Instead they should focus more on reputation building especially, if they have a complex sale.

Why? Word of mouth is all about our reputation.  Our reputation leads others to make conclusions about our brand but our brand doesn’t create our reputation. 

Recent research shows that reputation makes a huge difference for B2B companies in the following areas; demand creation, lead generation and overall revenue growth.

Sirius Decisions, a leading B-to-B research firm concludes,

“While brand isn’t dead, we believe it has become a byproduct of reputation, the first of three overall outputs today’s b-to-b organizations must systematically produce in order to be successful. Reputation has a direct link to the second output – demand creation – and indirectly helps to drive the third output (revenue) by building a foundation of trust and credibility that should be revisited as needed throughout a sales cycle.”

Read my post on defending thought leadeship

So if you want to build a WOM marketing program, you must look at your reputation first – not your brand.  “Build it and they will come.” – Field of Dreams

Should reputation take a back seat to branding?  Why or Why not? 

Sirius Decisions: The Real Link to Demand Creation

Link: A Penny For: Using Blogs for Word of Mouth Marketing.

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