KUALA LUMPUR — When undertaken systematically, word-of-mouth marketing has the potential to increase the return of investment for a business by up to 30% on average, said Rootwommers Sdn Bhd founder Camelia Yacob.
However, she acknowledges that this method of marketing may take several months to show results so it should not be the sole marketing method of a company. Instead it should only be a certain percentage of a company’s marketing mix.
In order to promote word-of-mouth marketing, Rootwommers held a roadshow in the southern states of Malaysia and in Penang recently.
Camelia believes the roadshow had met its objectives so far, which was to reach out to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in those states.
It was to show them the potential of word of mouth marketing as a tool to market their businesses, as well as to open more networks for entrepreneurs to mingle with like-minded entrepreneurs.
“As this is the first time we held such an event, I would not be able to compare, but I believe there has been tremendous response from those who showed up — they got connected, they came up with new business opportunities, they met new people — and for that reason alone, the objective of the roadshow has been met,” she said.
Even so, she said Rootwommers has a big job ahead of them to reach out to more SMEs to help them get connected.
Although different SMEs have different goals, objectives and challenges, Camelia has found that all SMEs are essentially looking for the same thing — how to be profitable, how to sustain the profits, and how to make the business a success, and the systems implemented by Rootwommers can help them on this path.
The organisation is also more than just word-of-mouth marketing; its members also regularly advise each other on their businesses and share their thoughts and opinions on how to improve their
For example, PrismTech Solutions Sdn Bhd managing director Rita Murni Zainal Abidin who has been with the organisation for around four years, said it has helped in re-inventing her business.
It changed her business model from selling a simple SMS solution worth RM110 to a customised platform worth over RM100,000. This was done after she spoke with the other members and gained feedback on her business.
Another member, Grow the Goose founder Nina Othman, said although she has been in the organisation for two years she only saw significant growth in the last six months after re-examining her business model and changing it into a social enterprise.
The roadshow was attended not only by newcomers to the concept who are looking for information on word-of-mouth marketing, but also by entrepreneurs who are already part of the Rootwommers network looking for new contacts.
The road show saw 178 participants made up of existing members — known as Wommers — and first-time visitors who made up about 30% of total participants.
The organisation received applications from around 30 new members through
Online Muslimah clothes seller Amira Rosli, one of the first-time visitors to the roadshow, said she believes the organisation is good, not only because of the business opportunities that can be gained through the networks, but also because of the confidence boost the support system of like-minded individuals can provide.
She said although she came to the roadshow thinking it would be like a get-rich-quick motivational seminar, she was surprised to find that it was informative and it had helped her gain valuable insights on how to improve her business.
“From what I have seen, Rootwommers is very good in that it can help us build our confidence to meet with potential customers and it is especially beneficial to those who are just starting to build a business.
“If we use what they teach us, we can increase our business. Doing business is not easy because you need to find customers and gain their trust, and it needs patience, so I believe Rootwommers can help with that,” she said.
Another first-timer, makeup artist and hairstylist Myra Ron said the roadshow had also motivated her to go forward in her business with confidence, and to not be shy when dealing with people and engaging with potential customers.
Many of the first-time visitors shared their views and agreed that it was a good platform to jumpstart their businesses through word-of-mouth marketing and also knowledge sharing.
Rootwommers currently has nine hubs with 145 members around Klang Valley