That is the question that BzzAgent, a Boston-based word-of-mouth marketing agency asked. And they figured out that a conversation by one of its 425,000 agents on behalf of a brand is worth half a dollar. “A 50 cent cost per conversation is the norm,” is what BzzAgent president, Dave Balter says. A recent article in Brandweek talks about how the word-of-mouth marketing industy is lurching towards some sort of standardized ROI metric, but that still hasn’t been defined.
Some say that calls into question how effective this type of advertising/viral marketing really is. If you can’t put a figure on what is being gained, how can you know that you’re reaching your specific target?
It’s the old tree falling in a forest when no one is around question. Can WOM advertising be attributed to financial gains made? It’s certainly obvious that WOM can damage a brand, so it has to be expected that it can have the postive affect of increasing the brands number of consumers. But, I think the argument is to how effective that is. Are consumers wasting time with this “stunt” marketing?
Last week, I got an email about the Gatorade spot by Element 79 that Matt posted about here on AS weeks ago. And sure some people are still buzzing about it, but I haven’t heard how it’s translated into sales. And if you look at youtube, lots of people even missed the point that it’s a Gatorade ad. I can think of tons of recent emails or billboards that I’ve read that piqued my interest enough to find out what they were about. Once I knew that answer, I still didn’t run out to buy the product.
Does that mean that at the end of the day WOM might not actually be as effective as the experts say?