Development of social media changed significantly not only the way how brands communicate with their consumers but also how brands consider their consumers.
Nowadays brands are looking forward to being not just purchased, they wish to be actively and broadly discussed. That means for us as marketers that communication and targeting are becoming much more wider terms.
So, now when we start considering our target consumers we should also take into consideration people with whom our consumer will discuss our brand and what kind of experiences he or she will share.
Thus, it becomes highly important to investigate which reference groups our consumers represent and what reach they have. Who are friends and followers of our consumers? Who are the people who read and actively share further the information that our consumers initially shared?
For me it sounds like a valuable additional dimension for a classic segmentation analysis or a point of consideration for a new communication campaign.
How can we make such kind of investigations? The first idea that comes to my mind it to do a social listening type of study. Not to focus only on what consumers say, but also who are those people who first share their experience, those who read and repost it, and those who actively discuss it.
However, social media is just one channel that consumers use for their experience sharing. Another important communication channels might be interests clubs, social and voluntary activities. For instance, the core source of information about running products for me is other runners who I meet in long distance running competitions or in runners clubs. There I can both hear about personal experience of other runners and see a product in its performance.
So, such communities and clubs might be of a strong interest for marketers especially of highly innovative products. But it’s important to take into consideration the diversity of participants and types of brand and product related communications that take place where.
To sum up, my recommendation for a development of word of mouth campaign would be: 1) make an investigation of who are the people discussing you brand and product, focusing not only on those who are in your direct reach; 2) create a message that would be relevant for a broad consumers reach, not just initially defined narrow target consumers group.