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Back to the future: Marketers Say "Word of Mouth Marketing" Is More Effective than Traditional Marketing

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Back to the future: Marketers Say "Word of Mouth Marketing" Is More Effective than Traditional Marketing

Large increase in social media spending forecast.

Time was, word of mouth marketing (WOM) was pretty much all there was.  Then along came technology – first print, then radio, then TV, and now, of course, the internet.  Judging by a recent survey of marketers, it appears that the old ways are coming back – with, of course, the help of technology.

According to a survey of marketing professionals sponsored by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, 64% of such professionals believe that WOM is more effective than "traditional" marketing (e.g., print advertising, product sampling, television, etc.).

"64% of such professionals believe that WOM is more effective than "traditional" marketing."

The survey found that 70% of marketers expect their companies will increase spending on social media in 2014 than digital advertising (59%) or email marketing (53%).

The survey also found that 29% expect to increasing spending on "offline word of mouth marketing," well ahead of print media (16%), product sampling (14%) and television (9%) in terms of future spending plans.

"While the survey found marketers believe that social marketing is highly effective, they need better tools to demonstrate its effectiveness," said Brad Fay, Chief Marketing Officer of Kelley Fay. "This is the great challenge for our industry: to provide more tools to show the return on investment from word of mouth marketing."

Marketers indicated that the three biggest obstacles to effectively pursuing WOM and social media marketing are difficulty measuring offline WOM (89%), showing return on investment (85%) and measuring online social media (79%).

"WOM is such an important aspect of marketing today, because it is where meaningful conversations happen with customers" said Nancy Costopulos, Chief Marketing Officer at the American Marketing Association. "This study is a call to action for our industry to help marketers prove the business value of WOM."

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