Word of Mouth Research Results

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association in the U.S. announced some of the results of its recent research. Apparently, people don't mind when they find out that a friend is engaged in giving them a commercial message instead of a friendly tip. However, the researcher also added that when people find out they expect the message to be special, new or otherwise significant because otherwise it seems too much effort on the part of a brand to tell you that there is a new flavour. As WOMMA tries to convince us that people don't mind WOM it seems to me that the same holy grail of marketing is still missing....relevance. Here is a thought, in recent research study for a car company people looked for information on the internet FIRST before asking any of their friends or family. Internet has replaced family and people are individual enough to find out and make up their mind even if their best mate tries to give them a 'commercial' tip. In my own research into word of mouth it was clear to me that any 'forced' or 'contrived' recommendations by paid 'agents' are not effective. A much better approach is to find those who are already positively endorsing your brand, reward and encourage them to give you word of mouth.