Word-of-Mouth milestone – landmark study proves the sales impact of WOM

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is not just the oldest form of marketing, it is also the most credible and effective. As the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) celebrated 10 years they presented a study on the ROI of WOM, showing some remarkable results: online and offline conversations and recommendations drive 13% of consumer sales.

The study 'Return on WOM' was published in November 2014 and funded by companies such as PepsiCo, Weight Watchers, AT&T, Discovery Communications and Intuit.

The study shows that online and offline conversations and recommendations drive 13% of consumer sales, whilst the word-of-mouth impact in higher price-point categories accounts for almost 20% of sales. Compare this to all paid media that in total account for 20%-30%, and it’s clear that the power of peer-to-peer conversations must not be underrated.

Measurable impact – a landmark in WOM marketing

The findings, based on market-mix modeling from independent analytics consultancy Analytic Partners, show that both online and offline WOM are strong purchase drivers. Whilst online word-of-mouth accounts for one third of the sales impact, it’s the offline WOM – accounting for two thirds – that has the real penetrating power. According to 'The Return on WOM' an offline word-of-mouth impression drives five times more sales than a traditional paid advertisement. The impact of word-of-mouth is also more immediate than that of conventional advertising as purchase usually occurs within two weeks of a WOM impression.

This study is a landmark in the world of word-of-mouth marketing as it allows us to reliably measure the impact of WOM campaigns in specific product categories. Evidently WOM not only strengthens the impact of traditional (paid) media, but also works independently and in different channels. This is great news for all producers who have already added word-of-mouth to their marketing plan!

Word-of-Mouth by trnd

As firm believers in the power of peer-to-peer recommendations, the results hardly surprised us here at trnd. Since 2005 we have shown the effects that involving your consumers in your marketing can have on sales figures and publicity of products. trnd was the first company in Europe to make word-of-wouth marketing plannable and measurable, and has proven the effects of WOM for a wide range of products and services in more than 800 WOM campaigns.

By activating thousands of volunteer co-marketers – your consumers – trnd helps you tap into the unused WOM potential of your existing customer base. As verified by the WOMMA study, letting your consumers spread the word is not only the most credible form of advertisement, but also extremely effective and highly targeted.

Want to know more? Read more about trnd WOM campaigns here or click here to read the full results of the 'Return on WOM' study.

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