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6 Simple Steps to Create WOM Champions Strategy

Consumers who are members of rewards programs, like Bon Ton Your Rewards, True Value Rewards and Borders Rewards, are far more likely to be Word-of-Mouth (WOM) champions for their favorite brands than non-members, and the more active their program participation, the more likely they are to exhibit WOM behavior, according the Colloquy study titled “The New Champion Customers: Measuring Word-of-Mouth Activity Among Reward Program Members”. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Reward program members are 70% more likely to be WOM champions (defined as customers who are “actively recommending” a product, service or brand) than the general population;
  • 55% of reward program members are self-described WOM champions;
  • Only 32% of non-reward program members are self-described WOM champions;
  • 68% of WOM champions in reward programs will recommend a program sponsor’s brand within a year;
  • Actively participating reward program members are over three times more likely to be WOM champions;
  • Reward program members who have redeemed for experiential rewards are 30% more likely to be WOM champions than those who have redeemed for discounts.

For many retailers the power of WOM activity is under-utilized and many marketers don’t know where to start. Here are six simple steps you can take to get started to create a WOM champions strategy:

  1. Find the find the champions buried within your rewards program memberships
  2. Give them something to talk about (viral email, samples, buzz, and more)
  3. Create tools to make it easier for them to talk to each other (blogs, discussions, tell-a-friend forms, widgets, social networks)
  4. Reward champions for positive WOM activity
  5. Participate in the conversation
  6. Track and measure results

In a previous post, I shared with you how the Royal Caribbean Cruises’ put these 6 steps into action. Rachel Hannock, Manager Loyalty Marketing and Royal Caribbean Cruises shared there story at a recent loyalty marketing conference. Hannock noted, “The key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced.”


Sallie Burnett
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