Word-of-mouth is the oldest, most powerful marketing channel in the history of mankind.
It's so old that it was marketing before marketing even existed. And it's so powerful that it's the most trusted source of product, content, and experience information for nearly every consumer in the world. We'll always trust the opinions of peers and like-minded individuals over marketing copy geared to make us purchase.
Word-of-mouth started with people interacting in person and sharing preferences, then people writing letters... Eventually, technology advances, such as the telephone, led to people expanding on this sharing of information. With the emergence of the Internet and the mass adoption of smartphones, social media has helped word-of-mouth become as powerful and pervasive as ever.
The difference today is that brands can now use word-of-mouth in ways they couldn't before.
And if you think about it, social is word-of-mouth. Except now it's digital, which means it has a whole new set of properties. It's trackable, attributable, and optimizable.
Those properties offer marketers a tremendous opportunity to understand word-of-mouth today—what's being said to drive sales, who's saying it, and where it's being said.
That has never been possible until now.