Since the inception of the internet decades ago, everything about Public Relations marketing as changed, and at the same time, nothing has changed at all. While the fundamentals remain the same, there are some key differences driven by the utter saturation of the marketing and information spheres. Nowadays, people are now exposed to over 5 000 branded messages and marketing ploys each day, making it difficult for brands to cut through the white noise, and be noticed by the right customer at the right time. Content is king; with brands emphasising more than ever the need for short, sharp and punchy messages that resonate with their target market.
Launched in 2010, Uber adopted a Word of Mouth strategy to marketing their product, seeking to capitalise upon the potential of the internet as new virtual forum.
Recognising the San Francisco tech community as ‘devotees’ given their usage behaviour as high creation and high consumption, Uber set out to implement a strategy that not only used brand ambassadors to target the market, but turn the market into brand ambassadors. By sponsoring industry events, and offering free rides Uber could count upon them to share their thoughts and experiences online, which would quickly reach the screens of potential customers and drivers across a broad geographical expanse, creating awareness, and buzz around the brand.
So, how exactly was this strategy disruptive and effective?
- Although social media marketing is the norm these days, Uber was ahead of the curve when they launched their app, recognising the potential of the Internet and shared content as word of mouth marketing. The peer-to-peer marketing approach continues to underpin Uber’s business model, with driver/customer rating features and app referral key features of the app.
- Social media marketing can cost next to nothing to generate. Combined with the fact that 92% of customers regard the recommendations of their peers as more believable than all other forms of advertising, means that this approach to advertising is incredibly efficient, generating a huge output for a marginal input. Here is one of the first reviews of the service, made on TechCrunch.com in July of 2010.
So what are some other brands that have utilised a similar WOMM strategy, and why have they been successful?