Insights on the perception and impact of firm-created Word-of-Mouth

Despite the long history of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and numerous studies showing its effectiveness, doubt still exists among marketers nowadays[1]. Some fear that WOM activities may result in negative WOM (e.g. firestorms), others believe firm-created WOM is not measurable or impactful at all. At the same time, more and more marketers start to see its value and try to actively stimulate positive WOM through so called WOM campaigns. For these campaigns [2], a group of carefully selected seeds receives product information, samples, and vouchers, facilitating collaboration with the brand and other seeds. The aim is to encourage seeds to spread recommendations within their social network. Through network activity, product-related information reaches out to a larger number of peers increasing product awareness. The hope of marketers is to (re-)introduce these peers to products in a credible and convincing way, educate them and ultimately increase sales. Ideally, this first generation of peers reached by the seeds, spreads product information further within their respective social network creating so-called ripple effects.

Our core business focuses on measuring the effects of firm-created WOM campaigns. We are mostly analyzing the first generation of WOM recipients who have been in contact with the seeds. Given our experience in WOM research, we want to challenge some doubts by providing a few insights from our daily business and academia.

1. [undefinedWOMMA, 2014]

2. [WOM campaigns are offered by various companies likeundefined trnd, undefinedbzzagent, undefinedmarkenjury,undefined for-me and many more]