Those who study advertising say the most popular form of marketing, by far, is done by word of mouth.
From BloombergBusiness: "While there’s no single formula for word-of-mouth success, I’ve found it often starts with creating a culture that encourages your clients to consider themselves valued partners in your business. Word-of-mouth referrals stem naturally from an unparalleled customer experience that fosters clients’ identification with your brand."
From Forbes: "Let’s look at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising."
Why are we talking about this? Recruiting is marketing, and in the world of college football, coaches are paid pitch men. Convincing and convicting, sure, but still salesmen. And if a player you're after is hearing from your coaches, he's hearing from a dozen others, too. Which is why current and former players are such a valuable resource in recruiting.
If a potential consumer wants to hear the testimony of those he or she trusts before making a purchase, that logical applies doubly so to college football. Hearing a coach assure a player that he'll be treated right at State U is great, but nothing builds trust like hearing it straight from the mouths of State U's players.
Western Michigan does a great job of tapping into that resource with the video below, simply titled "F.A.M.I.L.Y." "This program, it's family to me, and everybody in it - the coaches, the players. It's changed my life," one player says. Adds another: "It's F.A.M.I.L.Y, forget about me, I love you. You won't know it until you're here, but as soon as you're here you can feel it."