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Better Results from Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing works best when it is incorporated into all facets of daily life, touching many kinds of relationships and in a variety of settings. And the more it does so, the better the results, according to a new study from the Keller Fay Group.

The study, which is available as a free download on their website, reveals that word of mouth marketing works in more ways, with more results, than is often assumed. "The More, The Better" concludes that effective word of mouth marketing programs trigger the following types of activities among participants:

- Many kinds of people: Word of mouth agents are most likely to talk about products with friends and family (about 7 in 10 do so for each). But many also talk to coworkers (58 percent) and casual acquaintances (48 percent), and 25 percent with strangers they met.

- Many settings: Most word of mouth agents spread the word in their homes (82 percent), at work (56 percent) and others’ homes (55 percent). But many talk about products in other settings, including social gatherings (43 percent), stores (25 percent), and restaurants or bars (25 percent).

- Many ways: While face-to-face encounters predominate (99 percent), many spread the word in other ways as well, from phone (42 percent) to email (30 percent), instant messages and text messages (17 percent), and online chat rooms and blogs (9 percent).

- Many impacts: Word of mouth campaigns not only spread the word but prompt large numbers of those who hear the message to buy the product, consider a future purchase, or seek more information.

Consumers who achieve the most impact with their word of mouth efforts are much more likely than the average to tap into more kinds of people, in more settings, and in more ways. "Marketers sell themselves short if they just think of word of mouth as just spreading the word, just about blogs, or just about getting people to tell a friend," says Ed Keller, CEO of Keller Fay.

Marketers, in turn, should be looking for more ways to expand their word of mouth efforts. "The high levels of word of mouth occurring in stores and other public places, for example, suggests there may be an opportunity to stimulate word of mouth based on packaging and public-place displays in retail or other out of home settings," Keller says.

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