“Word-Of-Mouth” Expert Valeria Maltoni: Power Of Viral Marketing

Reuters.com news agency published this deansguide article July 14, 2008

Valeria Maltoni a University of Bologna (Italy) and Villanova University graduate, is one of the most influential marketing experts in the country. Her bio reads like a who’s who of Web 2.0 and marketing.

Her blog ConversationAgent.com is recognized among the world’s top online marketing blogs. Valeria is a FastCompany.com Expert blogger and a contributor to The Blog Herald, Marketing Profs Daily Fix, and Marketing 2.0.

She is an active member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the American Marketing Association (AMA), the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (WACA), and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

In her article “Permission Marketing Revisited” Valeria points out 3 interesting studies, dating back to 1955, about the power and validity of “word of mouth” aka viral marketing.

Realtor’s Gold

1. Real estate is a transaction business and a Realtor’s opportunity to shine, like gold, is a direct cause of word of mouth aka viral marketing. If you do a great job your clients will tell 5 or more friends–nothing new here.

2. But if you do less than advertised in your transaction, your less than enthused customer (according to studies performed by Nordstrom Dept store while I was an employee) will tell 10 friends not to use your services

Thought Provoking Studies: Valeria’s Research

1. “Columbia sociologists Lazarsfeld and Katz estimated that word of mouth was seven times more powerful that newspaper or magazine ads in motivating brand-switching as early as 1955.

2. “In 1975, the Roper Organization showed that word of mouth was mentioned as the best source of information about new products and services 67% better than advertising at 53% or editorial content at 47%.

Note: That flys in the face of conventional wisdom for people who believe that “media relations” should be the more powerful “component” in an integrated marketing plan

3. A 2003 Cap Gemini study into the influences on car purchases showed that 71% of the 700 respondents pointed to word of mouth compared to only 15% for television ads.

4. Renouned consulting firm McKinsey estimated that word of mouth drives two thirds of the US economy.

Final Analysis

Viral Marketing aka word of mouth marketing is much more powerful than most people expect. It is under estimated and often overlooked as a major component in a marketing plan–more so now in the globally communicating Web 2.0 World

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