Four WOM Statistics

Monday, 16 August 2010 / Published in Blog, Insights, Offline WOM

We begin the TalkTrack® Abstract posting series by sharing four statistics every marketer must know.  As a way of background, the stats shared below have been culled from recent Keller Fay research data.  These stats are priceless research information that can benefit any marketer in any industry.

1.  The average American consumer mentions specific brand names 60 times per week in conversations.

This TalkTrack® statistic quantifies what we already know:  customers talk about brands.  It’s human nature for people to talk about anything interesting and anything they are interested in.  This stat shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially marketers.

However, the implications and challenge for marketers is to be part of conversations we know customers are having about brands.  Which leads us to another interesting Keller Fay WOM stat…

2.  50% of all consumer conversations about brands refer to a company’s marketing activities.

That’s a significant number for marketers to consider.  Even more significant is that Keller Fay data reveals traditional advertising (radio/TV/outdoor/print) drives 22% of word of mouth conversations where brand names are mentioned.  The remainder of brand-driven conversations are sparked by in-store marketing signage, promotional campaigns, online/social media activity, and direct mail/email.

When designing marketing activities to spark word of mouth, a few basic questions must be asked (and answered).  Is the marketing activity interesting?  Is it entertaining?  Will the planned marketing activity earn opinions from customers?  If marketers design and deliver truly interesting and entertaining marketing activities, opinions will be earned and conversation from customers will be sparked.

The challenge then becomes do marketers have confidence that more positive opinions will be earned than negative ones.  Perhaps another Keller Fay stat can give marketers comfort with this challenge…

3.  65% of all WOM conversations are “mostly positive.”

Of the marketing-related conversations people are having, the vast majority can be classified as “mostly positive.”  On the flipside, just 8% of such conversations are “mostly negative.”  If a brand is credible, if its products/services are reliable, and if its marketing activities are believable, then probability is high customers will have more positive than negative conversations about the brand.

4.  Less than 10% of word of mouth conversations happen online.

Digital marketers hot for Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare will no doubt question this stat.  However, Keller Fay stats dating back to 2006 have consistently shown word of mouth conversations disproportionately happen offline in face-to-face and voice-to-voice settings.  90% of all conversations Americans have about products/services and brands taking place offline is a startling statistic.  (In future posts we will dissect the online/offline word of mouth disparity with more Keller Fay TalkTrack® insights.)

The important implication for marketers is that brands cannot ignore the offline conversations people are having.  Brands cannot rely solely on online social media marketing to spark conversations.  It’s another opportunity, not the only opportunity.

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