The Word of Mouth Myth

A common theme among most architecture and design firms is the belief that the vast majority of new leads come from word of mouth and referrals. A close second behind this is often the sentiment that marketing efforts therefore can’t make much of an impact. After all, history shows that it’s our past performance that gets us the new leads.

While on the surface these statements may seem easy enough to believe, the truth is that marketing has evolved and the concept of “word of mouth” means something entirely different today than it did twenty or even ten years ago. Clients rarely have only one touch-point before they make a buying decision.

So, since things aren’t as cut and dry, it’s important to look for more subtle clues to let you know what marketing efforts are influencing your clients. Here are some recent statements we’ve heard from clients that let us know that messages are connecting.

  • “I saw your sign in our neighbor’s yard, so we asked them about you.”
    This sounds like a neighborhood referral, but it was initiated by good, old fashioned project signage.
  • “You all worked with my prior company on a project. I remembered the __ you dropped off after the project was completed. I still use that!”
    The project was crucial, but the follow up was what kept your firm at the top-of-mind as they moved on.
  • “My colleague said they worked with you all, so I checked out your website.”
    This is a common one. Referrals today come in many varieties. The first step after receiving a referral for many clients is┬ánow┬áresearch though – not a phone call.
  • “I feel like I see your firm everywhere.”
    Regardless of why the email came in, this statement is a testament to your marketing success.
  • “I love seeing your updates on ____.”
    When past or repeat clients say this, it’s like gold. Your existing relationship is a foundation that marketing builds on. It is a never a guarantee that you’ll get a second project from a client. Staying in touch with valuable info increases your chances though.

What other statements have you heard from new leads lately that let you know your marketing has had an impact?

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