The Beauty of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Ted Wright, founder of word-of-mouth marketing agency Fizz, said in a recent Social Media Marketing podcast, “I do not believe this is the age of social media. I believe this is the age of conversation. I believe social media tools are a very important part of that conversation.”

Ted offers a bigger perspective that often gets lost in our digital-obsessed world. We think social media is the key to more sales and customers, but it really comes down to the fact that the internet has given people a way to find commonalities between each other and connect in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Ingredients for WOM Marketing

In the podcast, Ted discusses two WOM marketing successes he’s had with his clients Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bissel. He says that in order to do WOM marketing, you need to have a story. Your story has to be three things:

Interesting, relevant, and authentic

Once you have your story ready, you need to identify your influencers. Your influencers are people who have an interest in you, and who are willing to share your story with their followers. Their followers see them as credible experts on a given topic. So, the next step is to give your influencers as many opportunities as you can for them to share your story!

Word of Mouth MarketingIn the podcast, Ted talks about how Bissel knew that their vacuums cleaned up small lego pieces really well. Who cleans up small lego pieces? Parents! So he identified an opportunity for Bissel to be where the parents were: a giant lego-building event for kids. He sent people in Bissel t-shirts to vacuum up lego pieces that had flown outside of the play area. Then, they would empty the vacuum pieces back into the play area right in front of the parents. Boom. The influencer parents made the connection: Bissel vacuums are great for cleaning up legos. That’s the story they share! Out of 30,000 parents that attended, about 3,000 were likely to be influencers. What a great way to reach the influencers where they are!

So, how do beauty brands use word-of-mouth marketing? You already know.

Social Media Stars (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest)

Michelle Phan and L'OrealCosmetic brands seek our their influencers (people who are beauty experts and who have a large social media following). Examples of advertiser-influencer relationships:

  • L’Oreal & Michelle Phan (YouTube)
  • Maybelline & Zoe Sugg (YouTube)
  • Clean & Clear & Meghan Hughes (Snapchat)

Brands who connect with influencers are smart. They are using the influencers to gain the trust of consumers, and making more money doing it! According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Why It Works

Here are two important statistics that explain why influencer and social media marketing works with consumers:

  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

This stat comes from the ODM group, and is a telltale sign of how significantly technology is impacting consumer behavior through unlimited information to product data and fellow customers’ experiences. How can a brand have a voice in all the user content and feedback that surrounds their products? I’ll give you three guesses but you only need one: influencer marketing.  

  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads. 

As per Nielsen, this stat clearly shows that, for brands to reach consumers in the current reality, they need the help of influencers. Consumers have begun to tune out traditional ads, and increasingly connect to their social networks to guide buying decisions.

Source: Simply Measured

Influencer marketing has proven so successful that there are companies that will provide influencers for your business. These include: Brand Backer, Socialyte, and Style Coalition.

WOM/Influencer marketing is powerful, but Ted explained one pitfall that brands should avoid:

…thinking that the speed of word-of-mouth or social media will be the same as broadcast. Broadcast’s ability to actually move markets is not what it used to be. For some media, it’s not working at all, which is why newspapers are either going out of business or are much smaller. Ads don’t work anymore.

Marketers need to be up front with client leadership, and let them know how much time word-of-mouth marketing takes and why.

Ted says word-of-mouth marketing campaigns will see movement in the first 10 weeks and significant movement in the first 30 weeks. Plus, an entire year’s worth of word-of-mouth marketing covering the whole country costs less than one flight of television ad buying time for one network show.

Source: Social Media Examiner

The beauty industry has taken advantage of influencers, but I think there is still so much word-of-mouth marketing that can be done offline.

Like Ted Wright said, this is the age of conversation. I think it would be really cool if a beauty brand decided to do WOM marketing IRL like PBR did with Fizz. Listen to the podcast. You’ll be inspired to start your own WOM campaign.


P.S. If you like infographics, here’s a great one:

The State of Influencer Marketing #infographic


LOVE IS ON at Revlon

My first reaction to the Revlon “Love Is On” TV spot was admiration for Revlon’s marketing team and a 10-second karaoke performance. “Addicted to Love” by Florence + The Machine is the perfect song for Revlon’s romantic campaign. You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love. I mean, aren’t you?

It’s the simplest pairing: Lipstick and love. Rouge and romance. Classic Hollywood romance stuff… like Revlon’s Fire and Ice campaign in the 1950s. The ad message was that women could be as stunning as Hollywood starlets in real life with Revlon’s lipstick and nail lacquer (in colors other than red!).

Fast forward to 2015. The competition is fierce in the beauty industry, and Revlon is in need of some consumer lovin’. According to the NY Times, “Revlon was ranked 10th out of 12 cosmetics brands on the 2014 list, ahead of only Almay, another Revlon Inc. brand, and Coty.” Yikes.

To keep itself from falling further down the powdered & lacquered ranks, CEO Lorenzo Delpani decided on a theme for a new campaign that he discovered while scrambling the letters of the company name.


“From now on, we intend to be on a mission,” Mr. Delpani said, “inspiring all the shades of love.”

His revelation culminated in a print, tv, digital & social media campaign to romance consumers back to an iconic cosmetic brand. What better way to get the consumer’s attention than with emotion!

Here’s what I’ve observed:

Print Ads – features one of America’s sweehearts, shows off the product in all its glossy colors, and includes a sweet quote about kisses. Sigh. Now, mail me one of those HD lipsticks, Revlon!

Revlon Love Is On Print Ad

Digital – This digital billboard in NYC is interactive. A picture of me & my man on the big screen? I’d share it. The board also turns into a kiss cam! This is a great form of advertising to reach lots of people & lure consumers into generating content for you. These photos are also shared on

Revlon Digital Ad for Love is On Campaign

Facebook – Beautifully branded to match the campaign. Revlon’s posts all tie in #LOVEISON. Revlon shares all kinds of posts, from giveaways to how-to’s.

Revlon Facebook Page

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.51.50 PM

TV – I love it. Those lyrics will get stuck in your head!

Crowdfunding Contest – This campaign also doubles as an effort to “inspire compassion and ignite the spirit of giving to important women’s health causes.” Revlon will give the charity who raises the most money, a one million dollar donation this Fall 2015. I didn’t know about this until I visited and clicked around.

Revlon's crowdfunding contest on its website for campaign LOVE IS ON

Web Design CommentsThe one thing I would change about this campaign is the website design. I like the simplicity, BUT I do not like the white and red text on black. It is not easy on the eyes, and we’re taught to avoid this color combo in web design classes. I’d rather shop online for products on a white background. It’s cleaner, and it makes the products look newer and fresher. I know that black is sophisticated and sexy, but it just bothers me.

Revlon love is on website

The product I want to try: COLORBURST Lip Butter

Revlon Lipstick

I enjoy this campaign because takes a simple connection between makeup and romance, pairs it with a popular brand ambassador- the spunky & beautiful Emma Stone, and uses it to connect with the everyday cosmetic consumer. I’m looking forward to what Revlon will do in the next year. Will the campaign continue? I think it could. How about some guerilla marketing?