HP-WOMMA-Summit-15While WOM is a top driver and the most trusted form of discovery, according to Nate Elliott of Forrester, word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is still an immature discipline. Too many brands “post and pray” instead of having an integrated approach to WOMM. Elliott made these remarks as a keynote speaker at WOMMA’s Annual Conference and stimulated debate and conversation among the event’s attendees.

“Brands put too many resources behind generating organic posts, which only generate 2% reach. Yet, WOM is responsible for $6 trillion annually in consumer spending. Brands should take the WOMM discipline more seriously by dedicating budget, resources, and practices to capture a share of this opportunity.”

64% of brands believe that WOM works or drives value. Elliott noted that WOM falls into three categories with different degrees of appeal to brands:
• Customer advocacy: 34% plan to use
• Employee advocacy: 50% plan to use
• Category influencers: 76% plan to use

In this age of platform proliferation, only 33% of vendors focus on identification of category influencers; most focus on activation. Brands want identification and best practices for engagement.

Another challenge according to Elliott is measurement, which he deems is a mess. No one agrees on which metrics matters and “results inflation” is rampant.

Both marketers and vendors need to do better. Vendors need to offer platforms that allow marketers to manage all of their advocacy and influencer programs from a single platform. Metrics aligned with meaningful KPIs should be part of the admin suite. Marketers need to start treating WOM as a renewable, real channel rather than a one-off campaign.

Nate’s final comment sums up a trend that is too prevalent: the belief that the right platform will be the silver bullet. Elliott concluded: Technology is not a substitute for strategy.

Forrester just released a new study that analyzes the state of word of mouth platforms (WOMP).

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.