In our digital age, it’s totally fair to wonder if good old-fashioned, face-to-face, “hey, this is a good product, you should try it”-type marketing still happens. After all, it’s 2017—do people still actually talk to one another face-to-face?
Depending on who you are, what I’m about to share may be a testament to the importance of brand promotion via face-to-face word of mouth in an otherwise very digital age. For others, it might be a PSA if you have not yet discovered the amazing world of stretchy jeans for men (you’re welcome in advance).
So, stretchy jeans—what’s the big deal? Like many other women, I’ve been blissfully enjoying the forgiving nature of stretchy jeans for as long as I can remember. Apparently, this is new to men. It came to my attention over the holidays as a perfect example of brand promotion by word of mouth in our oh-so-digital age played out right in front of my eyes. Merry Christmas to me.
Picture this: A nice cozy home decorated in its Christmas best and a family enjoying delicious food, great conversation and of course, presents. One person, let’s call him Guy #1, opens a gift from his cousin, Guy #2—a pair of jeans.
It’s not every day a guy buys his cousin or one of his buddies a pair of jeans. After all, jeans tend to be personal and something you carefully cater to your own specific taste. So, Guy #1 politely expresses his gratitude for said jeans. Immediately Guy #2 bursts into a long spiel about how these American Eagle stretchy jeans are LIFE CHANGING and that he won’t rest until everyone he knows owns a pair (OK, so that’s slightly exaggerated to paint the picture of his enthusiasm).
As I quickly swapped out my Santa hat for my marketing one, I began picking his brain. Is Guy #2 a part of some rewards group that encourages you to refer a friend? No. Does he get a discount for gifting a pair? No. So why is he such an advocate for these jeans? As my unsolicited interview ended, I concluded he simply found a product he loved and wanted the people he cared about to enjoy it too. Spoiler alert: Guy #2 gave his father a pair of the jeans the next morning.
A few weeks later, a similar scene played out in my office, as two guys had a conversation about the wonders of new stretchy jeans for men and battled over who could do the best downward dog pose while wearing them. But it wasn’t just a stretchy jean love fest. They quickly changed the focus to persuading a fellow colleague to join the revolution. Another woman piped in that she’d definitely be sending a link to her hubby.
The moral of the story? In our digital age of anonymously shared online opinions, the opinions of those we trust often have the biggest impact. If Guy #2 had been lightly prodded with word-of-mouth marketing tactics such as a “refer a friend program,” there’s no telling how many pairs he would have bought and shared. Our marketing world as we know it continues to change, but you can’t discount the tried-and-true practice of having a great product that people want to talk about—and finding ways to help them share their brand love with those they love.
Beth Wladyka is Account Executive at AKHIA.