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Leadership in Word of Mouth Marketing

OMMA magazine reports that one could easily argue that word of mouth is the oldest form of media. But it wasn't until recently that advertisers began to see it as a tangible marketing strategy that could be budgeted for, planned, and measured. "About half of all online marketers are engaged in some form of word-of-mouth or viral campaign [today], and that number will continue to grow," says Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer and author of the report "Word of Mouth Marketing: The Stats, Surveys, and Substance Behind the Buzz."

The report notes that 34 percent of respondents to a JupiterResearch survey had conducted word-of-mouth campaigns in the 12 months ending October 2004. An April 2005 CMO Magazine study revealed that 43 percent of respondents cited customer influence via word-of-mouth as a marketing strategy they use or plan to use within the next six months.

Marketers across the retail, electronics, automotive, financial services, cellular, travel, and healthcare sectors are having success with word-of-mouth marketing strategies. A Nielsen / Net-Ratings survey found it to be the third most important source of information for 2004 online holiday shoppers (26 percent), below search engines (38 percent) and Web sites (30 percent), but above catalogs (22 percent) and brick-and-mortar stores (20 percent).

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