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word of mouth: meaning and explanation

Word of mouth is the spreading of information from person to person. This originally referred only to spoken communication, but today encompasses informal written communication forms such as social media posts, chat, text messages and so on.

In the context of marketing, word of mouth may refer to the natural spreading of information about a company, such as with personal recommendations. e.g. The majority of our new customers hear about us through word of mouth.

Word of mouth marketing can also refer to more active attempts to encourage this spread, such as by encouraging the sharing of social media posts, incentivising reviews and so on.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: England (RP)

, .
Our relatively small, tend on .
Our marketing is relatively small, we tend to heavily on word of .

About the sentence

…Our marketing budget is relatively small

Relatively is a useful adverb which means when compared to something else. e.g. In spite of the challenging market conditions, we had a relatively successful year in terms of sales.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Scotland

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Ireland


Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • In the age of social media and online reviews, how has the concept of “word of mouth” evolved? Are traditional methods still as influential?
  • Can you remember a time when you discovered a product, service, or place solely through “word of mouth.” How did it impact your decision to try or visit it?
  • Word of mouth is often said to be the best form of marketing. Why do you think this is?

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