There is no doubt that word-of-mouth marketing on the social web can have a significant effect on a brand. That effect has not gone unnoticed and according to a new report from PQ Media with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), brand spending on word of mouth marketing in 2008 grew by 14.2% to $1.54 billion. The growth is expected to slow to 10.2% in 2009, but that’s still a strong double-digit growth rate. Clearly, word of mouth marketing is taking a chunk out of some other traditional marketing tactics.
It’s important to understand that word of mouth marketing spending still only comprises a small fraction of overall brand marketing spending, but it also represents a shift in marketing investments that is not likely to stop growing anytime soon. Connecting with consumers on websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is the low hanging fruit that every brand manager wants to pick but still hasn’t found the way to detach from the branch. That makes the shift in marketing investment from traditional tactics to online word of mouth marketing a scary one, and that’s a risk that many executives still aren’t prepared to make. It’s a shame really. The opportunities are so great.
With the growing importance of word of mouth marketing, consultants are reaping the rewards. In fact, PQ Media reports that the word of mouth business grew by 18.7% in 2008 to $197 million. There are even awards and recognition for word of mouth marketing campaigns like the WOMMY Awards.
Interest in word of mouth marketing is coming from all sides these days. It’s not surprising. Consumers are tired of being spoken at and want to be spoken to. With the economic client failing them, they have lost trust in brands and look to people they know more so than ads and traditional marketing tactics to get information and make purchase decisions. The only question brand managers and executives should be asking themselves is how much can we invest in word of mouth marketing this year? If they’re still wondering if they should invest in word of mouth marketing at all, then they’re in trouble.
Image: PQ Media
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