Word of mouth marketing to grow rapidly

November 19, 2007

A study from PQ Media shows that word-of-mouth marketing has grown by 35.9% in 2006 (to $981m) and is expected to be well over $1B in 2007 (maybe as much as $1.3B). Now, over 90% of word-of-mouth marketing is offline still but that’s changing and with the new opportunities for communication and engaging your customers on the web I’d expect the shift from off to online to be pretty dramatic over the next year.

In 2006, word-of-mouth marketing was still the smallest of the main segments of marketing activity, however it grew almost five times faster than the overall marketing services sector, demonstrating that this is a market segment that is maturing rapidly.

I wrote some time ago about the power of word-of-mouth and how it had been rated as the most trusted form of advertising by consumers. Recommendation is highly valuable to any brand and likewise getting the wrong kind of PR from consumers who don’t like your product or service can be extremely detrimental to a brand.

The rise and rise of social media and networking on the web is going to help the online medium become the biggest platform for word-of-mouth marketing in my opinion. There are a multitude of ways you can interact with your consumers and they can feedback to others on your behalf. Facebook is proving to be huge for word-of-mouth, getting a strategy to utilise this new exposure is really important for brands right now as if they don’t control this themselves to some extent it will happen anyway without their input (which could be bad news for some).

Good news for the viral industry as well! I expect viral to take off in a massive way in 2008 as agencies and marketers work out how to integrate a good viral campaign with platforms such as Facebook and OpenSocial. This will open virals up to a much larger audience and facilitate much larger community conversations about brands.

Brand protection has never been more important so I hope you have your social media monitoring in place?

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