By the Numbers: Association Word-of-Mouth Marketing

image of woman yellingWord-of-mouth is so powerful because “we trust each other so much more than we trust businesses.” – Jay Baer


Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is defined as: An unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product or service and is triggered when a customer (member) experiences something beyond what is expected.


    • 83% of Americans have recommended a product or service to someone else.
    • 55% of Americans make product or service recommendations to others at least once per month.
    • 48% of Gen Zs have made a recommendation because they’ve heard good things about the product, service, brand, or company from a friend or family member
    • 30% of Gen Zs have made a recommendation because they’ve overheard someone praising the product, service, brand, or company.
    • Word of mouth drives 13% of sales.


On average, 10% of customers drive over 50% of word of mouth marketing.

Take extra time for your advocates—anyone who has shown clear affection for your organization—making sure to add value by bringing them closer to your organization. Ask for their feedback, invite them to do a case study, and make them feel involved (without having to commit their time).


Word-of-mouth is different than social media. Be careful about confusing the two. WOMM happens everywhere. It encompasses a variety of sub-categories so it can include social media, but overall, it’s about human interaction.

Association Marketing Plan Basics:
5 Quick Tips for Association Marketing Strategies>>


Do what you said you would do. If you haven’t fulfilled the promises that were made to members, WOMM will turn on you, becoming your greatest foe. Chatter about a negative experience is incredibly damaging.

It has been said that brand perception is half product, half customer experience. For associations, the product is the experience, so there is no chance to get it half right. It’s all or nothing, so do it all.


Piggybacking off of a successful event or after positive media coverage are no-brainers for generating buzz. But for any other time, have you simply asked?

You’ve probably asked members to donate and volunteer their time. Have you directly asked members to tell friends about the organization? It probably hadn’t occurred to them that letting people know is helpful. It’s a great option for those that can’t donate or volunteer.

Pay attention to all of your members, but go above and beyond for your advocates. It will come back to you unequivocally.

Membership Renewals: The Secret Sauce Revealed.
Get the Handbook>>

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on June 21, 2019. It has been updated.

View a Tour 1-To-1 Demo