Word-of-mouth marketing, which occurs when others tell each other about a business, is also considered a form of referral marketing. Word-of-mouth is the principle behind things that “go viral,” like the Old Spice commercials featuring Isaiah Mustafa that were originally released on YouTube. This tongue-in-cheek campaign, with the tag line “The man your man could smell like,” became the fastest growing online viral campaign ever, with 23 million views in 36 hours—and generated a sales increase of 107% for Old Spice. (See also Word-of-Mouth Marketing)


Viral marketing is often used in conjunction with other methods of marketing, such as in the case of the Blair Witch Project. The viral aspect of the campaign generated buzz about the story long before the release of commercials, trailers, posters, and other forms of traditional marketing. This caused many people to already talk about the movie before it was officially announced to the public.

Word-of-mouth and Referral Marketing are often confused. Whilst word-of-mouth is the result of customers talking about your brand with their friends and convincing them to try it, this is done without marketing effort and is difficult for marketing teams to influence and measure. Refer-a-friend marketing attempts to harness this customer advocacy and put in place the tools to encourage, reward and track customer recommendations.
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