online word of mouth

PRSA 2008: Word of Mouth Online or Off – What’s The Difference?

Can you truly measure the effect of word of mouth in marketing, whether it be online or offline?  If so, which is more effective?  Further, if so, what exactly can we as marketers do with it?

These were the bold questions set forth by Jeffrey Graham,  Executive Director, Customer Insight, New York Times, in the day one PRSA International Conference Session “Word of Mouth Online or Off – What’s the Difference?”

The session’s formal agenda began with the stunning, though entirely unsurprising, admission that word of mouth, while noted as critical towards any marketing campaign’s success, is rarely accounted for in a campaigns budget.

The answer for this is surprisingly direct, in addition to being a complete cop-out: it simply cannot be measured.