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Andy’s Answers: The difference between word of mouth and advertising

If it stops when you stop paying for it, it’s advertising. If it keeps going, it’s word-of-mouth marketing. When thinking about whether you should engage in word-of-mouth marketing or whether to go with traditional advertising, you’re really talking about when to spend money.

Three differences:

  • Word of mouth allows for “test first, spend later.” Testing a campaign or a message on Facebook is free and takes a few minutes. If it takes off, then you know it’s worth investing in.
  • Speed to launch. You can start a new word-of-mouth strategy in less than an hour, whereas advertising requires lots of planning, research, and coordination.
  • Staff involved. One person can effectively reach lots of your fans and influencers to engage in conversations about you, while advertising often requires multiple departments and outside agencies.