Word of mouth: what we really know – and what we don’t
If you’re a marketing professional in the 21st century, word of mouth seems to be one of those buzzwords you can’t live without.Trade books and articles often tout word of mouth as one of the ‘next big ideas’ for the troubled marketing communication industries. The main reason is that traditional advertising just doesn’t seem to work that well anymore. Advertising experts and their clients are becoming more and more concerned with audience fragmentation, ad clutter, consumer annoyance and avoidance of advertising. Industry prophets talk about the need for a paradigm shift in marketing communications: permission marketing instead of intrusive advertising, pull instead of push, one-onone instead of mass messages, relationship marketing instead of isolated communication events, integration of promotional and entertainment content instead of a clear identification of the advertiser. In the midst of these cataclysmic changes, word of mouth seems to represent hope and one of the guiding lights.