Marketers’ Most Effective Word-of-Mouth Tactics

April 28, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Marketing Budgets | Return on Investment | Social Media | Word of Mouth

WOMMAAMA-Satisfaction-W-O-M-Social-Tactics-Apr2014About 9 in 10 marketers indicate that difficulty measuring offline word-of-mouth (W-O-M) marketing is an obstacle in pursuing a W-O-M strategy at their companies, and 8 in 10 concur with respect to difficulties measuring online social media marketing, according to full results from a survey by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA). Despite that, 2 in 3 believe that W-O-M is more effective than traditional marketing – and at least 7 in 10 are satisfied with a variety of tactics they’re using.

The survey measured usage of 19 word-of-mouth (WOM) and social media tactics, finding a broad range of adoption. At the top end, some 92% have experience with (82%) or are considering (10%) building and managing social media pages and profiles, while at the low end, only one-third have experience (13%) or are considering (20%) using agents for sampling.

For the most part, social media marketing tactics are being used by more respondents than offline W-O-M tactics; the researchers note that tactics that “delegate responsibility to consumers” are among the least-used, such as engaging fans in product development (16% with experience) and engaging fans in product development (26% with experience).

Meanwhile, relative to current usage levels, a significant portion are considering enlisting advocates (40% considering versus 34% with experience) and having W-O-M as a social advertising objective (35% considering versus 38% with experience).

As is often the case with surveys comparing adoption and satisfaction rates, some disparities arise. As such, while only 30% of respondents have experience organizing parties or events, 92% of those are very (39%) or somewhat (53%) satisfied with the tactic, the highest satisfaction rate among the 19 identified. And while almost 9 in 10 are satisfied with their efforts building and managing social media pages and profiles, lesser-used tactics such as using agents for sampling (86% satisfied) and engaging bloggers (84% satisfied) have high rates of satisfaction. Interestingly, despite the buzz about influencers, marketers who enlist influencers reported the lowest rate of satisfaction, even if 7 in 10 were satisfied to some degree.

Satisfaction with these various tactics may not be based on ROI metrics, though. Only 1 in 5 respondents agreed that they can effectively measure the ROI of offline W-O-M (with just 3% completing agreeing), while just one-third concurred with respect to measuring the ROI of online social media (with just 5% completely agreeing).

For the time being, few marketers identify online social media marketing and offline word-of-mouth (W-O-M) marketing as major spending areas. Offline W-O-M isn’t slated for increased investment by many, but a strong majority will increase their investment in social despite its measurement difficulties.

A final note: although word-of-mouth spans both online and offline, 86% of marketers agreed that they associate the term “social” with online rather than offline, while 62% agreed that they associate the term “W-O-M marketing” with offline rather than online.

The initial results of the survey were covered here.

About the Data: A total of 328 marketers completed the online survey. To qualify, they had to be employed by a “corporation or brand marketer” and have knowledge of the company’s marketing strategy. Marketers were recruited primarily from the AMA and WOMMA member email lists, and secondarily through each organization’s social media following.

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