Word of Mouth Marketing Trends

Department Zero is a proud, long-standing member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), and we attended the annual WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas in November. The Summit is a three-day conference for brands and agencies in the WOM marketing industry. Attendance was strong, the venue was great, and the speakers were fantastic, not to mention a party or two.

There were more than a few gems shared. Anyone following my personal twitter feed (@soseman) was bombarded with my thoughts of the event in real time (#WOMMASummit). After a holiday break, heavy editing, a whole lot of turkey and some time to reflect, I synthesized my key takeaways from the summit to share.

  • Millennials are still the focus of the majority of social media marketing efforts. Rightly so, as the most online and social population currently totals 80+ million, and swings a wallet worth $200 billion annually. They are “always on,” expect to be able to find anything they need online, on their phones, and are the most vocal group to date about their likes and dislikes.
  • Experiential and social media marketing are two sides to the same coin. When a creative campaign or promotional activity touches a consumer in an individual way, via live events or social media platforms, the goals should be identical. All sponsorships and event activations should be tied to a meaningful social component to extend the reach and success of the effort.
  • Reporting metrics are not standardized, and ROI is still tough to nail down. It is difficult, often impossible, within many organizations to tie marketing activity back to actual sales. Soft metrics like engagement rates and sentiment monitoring are the next best thing, but their value varies. The value of target audience engagements are different for brands seeking high dollar loan applicants than they are for a packaged goods company selling $2 snacks. Brands should be putting together customized ROI models, based on their strategic goals.
  • Social media marketing is continuing to grow. There are still monster brands just beginning to integrate social media into their operation, and C-Suite Execs are still skeptical about its value. The capacities available for pre-seeding, monitoring, participating, and extending the life of all campaigns are only beginning to be used as they could.