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.
The biggest issue facing the sector, it said, and one that may hamper its growth, is measurement. Fully 89% of marketers stated they had problems calculating offline WOM, while 79% said the same thing about online social.