It's true that the most effective form of marketing is still, and always will be, the word of mouth. Not only are you usually getting useful information needed in choosing a product, but it is usually coming from someone that you trust, or hold in some sort of high regard. If your friend tells you about some new soda that is the best thing they've ever had, chances are you are going to at least buy it once to try it. The whole method of sponsoring athletes or famous people to promote products is a form of indirect word of mouth marketing. I know for me personally, word of mouth is the only form of "marketing" that has a presence in my head when I am debating making a purchase or not. Word of mouth will make or break any business or product.
Yesterday I took my mom shopping at the mall in honor of mothers day. While we were walking through the large marble corridor that is the Sunrise Mall, we saw a shoe store that seemed kind of commercial, and not the kind of place that I would go in to even look at shoes, let alone buy them, but my mom wanted some sandals, so we went in there to take a look. While she was looking at some sandals, I went to go look at the 4 different styles of vans they carried with very low expectations. One of the pairs they carried I had never seen before, and they were exactly what I was looking for in a shoe. If I had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of my life, It would probably be these shoes. So I bought the my mom some sandals, and bought myself some shoes too.
Later on that day, I met up with a few of my friends at the skatepark, and they too have never seen the shoes that I was wearing, and were asking me where I got them. When I told them, you could see the look of confusion on their faces, because they too would never go into that store to even look for shoes.
Guess how many new customers they are going to have today looking for Vans?