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Case Title:

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Contrivance to Make or Break a Brand?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: J Thadamalla, S Hotchandani and A Syed

Industry: Services


Case Code: MCS0027IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Word-of-mouth-marketing (WOMM) is often referred to as the oldest form of marketing communication technique. Being low cost, WOMM can be highly valuable to the marketers because of the personal nature of the communication between individuals. It is also believed that product information communicated this way is highly credible and effective. Many new start-ups have effectively used WOMM to their benefit. However, WOMM can be dangerous if it is not understood and used properly. Negative word-of-mouth could affect the brand adversely and the companies have to handle it in an effective way. The case study draws real world examples of companies like Hotmail, Google, German organic drink maker Bionade and Harley-Davidson who hold WOMM as the core of their success. It also discusses companies like JetBlue Airways, Dell and Microsoft that had an adverse effect due to word-of-mouth. The case study aids a discussion on whether WOMM can completely substitute or just supplement the conventional mass media advertising.

Pedagogical Objectives:

    This case study can be used:

  • To understand the concept of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)
  • To understand various WOMM techniques.
  • To analyse the role of WOMM in marketing communication.
  • To understand the pros and cons of WOMM.

Keywords : Word-of-mouth, Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), Marketing communication techniques, Marketing strategy, Positive word-of-mouth, Negative word-of-mouth, Low cost technique, Conventional advertising, Brand building, Harley-Davidson, Hotmail, Google, Bionade, JetBlue Airways, Dell

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