According to Adage WoM is now worth $1bn per annum (and growing).
The piece cites
“research suggesting it is more effective than other forms of advertising. For instance, a recent Nielsen Global Survey of over 26,000 people found that nearly 78% of respondents trusted “recommendations from consumers,” a total 15% higher than the second-most credible source, newspapers. And this trust…leads to more sales at the cash register”
Well, yes. As a number of us have been saying for a while.
But I think what folk (including those lovely people at Ad Age) mean by WoM is the things that marketers do which are specifically designed to generate a WoM response.
The truth is that WoM has always been with us – long before marketing johnnies came along – and has always been one of the most tangible forms of peer-to-peer, consumer-to-consumer influence that primarily shapes both individual and mass behaviour.
And it’s on top of the ‘endogenous’ (i.e. naturally arising) influence behaviours that the ‘exogenous’ (i.e. from outside forces like Marketing) WoM behaviour is built.
And it’s only the most obvious and memorable form of peer-influence behaviour, not the most important. And actually a lot of it doesn’t lead to behaviour change – much of it is phatic</em>. Just social exhaust noise.
When will we get over ourselves and realise that most stuff in the world is not the result of what we do? Real people get on very well without us and always have: what we do builds on what they do and uses the same mechanisms.