Somewhat conflicting research from the United States indicates that while word-of-mouth marketing is growing, marketers are still not inclined to include it in their communication plans.
On a positive note for the WOM industry, according to PQ Media, spending on word-of-mouth marketing in the US is expected to top $1 billion in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing alternative media segments in that country.
PQ Media has just released Word-of-Mouth Marketing Forecast 2007-2011, the first in-depth analysis of the emerging word-of-mouth marketing industry released. The report predicts WOM marketing spending will reach $3.7 billion in 2011.
According to new findings in the annual “Media, Myths and Realities” report from Ketchum and the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center, less than a quarter (24 percent) of communicators have a word of mouth strategy in place.
According to BizReport:
"This year's findings magnify the point of last year's benchmark survey, which showed that communications professionals need to vigorously reassess their communication priorities to meet consumers' needs in this multimedia channel world," said Nicholas Scibetta, Ketchum senior vice president and global director, Global Media Network.
A potential explanation for this disconnect is that marketers are perhaps confused as to what constitutes WOM marketing. Public relations has for many years confused marketers as to what does and doesn't fall under its remit.
Given WOM marketing is a kindred spirit of PR and there is considerable cross-over between the two, it's unsurprising then that marketers are confused.