I’m surprised there has been virtually no chatter about Adweek’s feature story on Measuring Buzz. It’s probably because the article has been trapped deep inside Adweek’s guarded online gates. Consider the article hostage no more …
DOWNLOAD | Psst! How Do You Measure Buzz (pdf) | Adweek | 10.24.05
”Indeed, the rise of word-of-mouth and buzz marketing couldn’t come at a better time – or a worse one. On one hand, it offers marketers the chance to bypass increasingly spotty communication channels and avoid the middleman known as paid media in favor of one of the oldest and most effective forms of communication. On the other hand, it is enormously difficult to quantify return on investment from this most ephemeral of media. A whole cottage industry has sprung up around the demand for word-of-mouth measurement. But so far, not even the companies that are best at monitoring word-of-mouth feel they’ve cracked the code.”
That’s how Catharine Taylor, Adweek writer, sets up her story. From there she gives a quick run-down on the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) from its purpose/vision to the Association’s terminology framework (WOMUnits, episodes, etc). [Click here for a PDF of WOMMA’s Framework Terminology.] Taylor then touches upon the work from Intelliseek, BuzzMetrics, and BzzAgent.
However, the article never fully answers the question of how to measure word-of-mouth because that question has yet to sufficiently answered. WOMMA (of which Brand Autopsy is a member) and other groups are still working on figuring out the metrics issue.
While Brand Autopsy is a WOMMA member, I’m less concerned about solving the measurement issue. Instead, I believe the bigger issues facing marketers today have to do with the WOM message more than the WOM metrics.
The major reason why word-of-mouth hasn’t taken off is not because marketers lack the metrics to measure it. It’s because most products, services, and businesses simply aren’t worth talking about. Marketers should worry less about the metrics of “WOMUnits” and more about the message of the word-of-mouth activity. The more compelling and interesting the “WOMUnit,” the more people will talk about it.
Also marketers need to realize word-of-mouth is more than a marketing issue -- it’s a business issue. Marketers cannot simply sprinkle magical word-of-mouth marketing dust to create long-lasting word of mouth. For endearing and enduring word-of-mouth to happen, the activity must become part of the company’s culture. Sustainable word-of-mouth is much more a way of doing business every day than a component to a two-week heavy-up marketing blitz.
The Adweek article closes by quoting some smart thinking from Jim Poh, director of creative content at Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
”The more you measure it [word-of-mouth], the more you find ways to manufacture buzz. And manufactured buzz starts to feel like that.”
Well said Jim … well said.