Word-of-mouth council unveils new metrics talk

CHICAGO: The Word of Mouth Marketing Association last week unveiled new terminology that it hopes will provide a standard for measuring the impact of word-of-mouth campaigns.

CHICAGO: The Word of Mouth Marketing Association last week unveiled new terminology that it hopes will provide a standard for measuring the impact of word-of-mouth campaigns.

Developing metrics to discuss word-of-mouth campaigns will help ease the practice into mainstream marketing programs, said Andy Sernovitz, the association's CEO.

"Word-of-mouth marketing is moving from anecdotal to actionable," he told the more than 200 attendees at a measurement conference the association held last Wednesday.

The framework defines word of mouth as "the act of a consumer creating and/or distributing marketing-relevant information to another consumer."

A single incidence of word-of-mouth communications is referred to as a "WOM Episode," and "WOMUnit" describes a single unit of marketing-relevant information shared by a consumer.

The framework creates qualities for measuring the efficacy of a WOMUnit in achieving a marketing objective.

Those qualities include topicality (the degree to which a marketing message is contained in a unit), the timeliness of the message, clarity, depth, and polarity (whether the message is positive or negative).

Jonathan Carson, president of BuzzMetrics and co-chairman of the association's council, which developed the new terminology, said the association wanted to tackle the measurement issue early to avoid the PR industry's problem of lacking one generally recognized ROI measurement tool.

Creating metrics for word-of-mouth marketing is one of the association's three missions.

It also plans to establish a word-of-mouth ethics code and will publish best practices for the rapidly growing specialty.

The association's 50-member research and metrics council worked from November until this month to create the new terminology framework.

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