In the first of its kind survey sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), brand marketers say word of mouth marketing is more effective than traditional marketing, and also share some of their greatest challenges.
328 marketing executives in a wide variety of companies took the survey in the Fall of 2013. The research company Decipher conducted the interviews online, drawing on members of the AMA and WOMMA.
Here are some highlights:
Spending on word of mouth marketing is modest, but growing fast.
- Online social media is a major spending area according to 26% of marketers and “offline word of mouth” is a major spending area for 21%, well behind customer service (54%), email marketing (40%), customer relationship management (39%) and digital advertising (36%).
- But spending levels are poised to grow fast. 70% say their company will increase spending on social media, more than any other marketing channel, including offline WOM at 29%. Both forms of WOM marketing rank ahead of print media (16%), product sampling (14%), and TV (9%) as growth areas.
Widespread use for many social tactics
- The survey measured usage levels for 19 specific tactics for social and word of mouth marketing, finding that two-thirds of companies have already tried six that relate to online social media, including building/managing profiles (82%), monitoring online social media (72%), and using sharing buttons (68%).
- The tactics best poised to see more usage are enlisting advocates (40% are considering it), and setting WOM as an advertising objective (35%).
- High levels of satisfaction is reported for every WOM marketing tactic, with at least 7 in 10 marketers satisfied with their experiences.
Difficulty of measuring WOM is an obstacle for the majority of companies.
- 64% of marketers believe social marketing is “more effective than traditional marketing,” but relatively few think they can effectively measure the ROI of online social media (34%) or offline WOM (22%).
- Indeed, large majorities say that measurement problems are obstacles to greater usage of WOM Marketing in their companies. The top three obstacles are difficulty measuring offline WOM (89%), not being able to show ROI (85%), and difficulty measuring online social media (79%).
- Other key obstacles are a lack of company coordination (75%) and lack of understanding about word of mouth marketing (64%).
Few companies rate themselves as “Advanced” in WOM marketing
- Just 6% are “advanced” whereas 16% describe their companies as “very innovative” generally.
- Even among “Innovative” Companies, Only 40% Rate Themselves as Above Average or Advanced in WOM Marketing.
To download the State of WOMM Survey, visit /stateofWOMM.
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