A marketing method that relies on casual social interactions to promote a product.
This method has been in place even before the advent of the Internet, and is widely touted as the most effective form of marketing. A person is more likely to believe something that comes from a person that he knows or respects, instead of a canned source like commercials and print ads.
A traditional promotion campaign for a concert tour would entail distribution of fliers, filming of TV commercials, and publishing print ads in newspapers. However, word-of-mouth advertising has become even more powerful with the advent of online social networks. To cite a good example, late night TV host Conan O’Brien was able to sell out ALL of the tickets in ALL of his concert venues just by sending out a single tweet. This then got re-tweeted on Twitter and shared on other social networks. The concert tour was held in mid-2010, just a few weeks after he was axed at NBC. Because of word-of mouth, brand awareness for “Conan O’Brien” spread like wildfire – and it only took 140 well-crafted characters.
see also: Social Media Tools
How-To Do Viral Marketing: The Ultimate Archive of Videos & Podcasts
MarketingTerms.com (February 15, 2012)
Word of Mouth Marketing
Social Media Explorer (May 11, 2011)
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Evolution
Forbes (May 21, 2009)
Word of Mouth Cheat Sheet (Agent Wildfire)
SlideShare (July 2007)