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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 18, 2007

WOM absent from communication strategy

The importance of word-of-mouth is being seriously underestimated by many communicators and is often overlooked as a valuable component to a communications strategy, finds an annual survey by Ketchum.

by Helen Leggatt

ketchum%20logo.jpgIt has been projected that, during 2007, 66 million adults will share reviews and advice about products and services and 27 million will “exert influence” online.

And yet, 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.

"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.

Broadcasting to the masses is out, says the Ketchum-USC report, and suggests that communicators view their audience as a “public of one”, providing relevant, meaningful and entertaining content that they will feel inclined to share with others.

"The survey results also show that today, more than ever, each consumer can search out the specific information he or she is seeking while tuning out the media sources that aren't personally relevant or meaningful," said Scibetta. "Communicators must focus on speaking to individuals, not just broadcasting to the masses, when getting their messages across to this new 'public of one.'"

Tags: communications strategy, multimedia, social marketing, word-of-mouth

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