P&G seeks to drive WOM

17 November 2011

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, is taking a "well-rounded" approach to word of mouth, reflecting the fact digital media remains far from the key driver of this activity.

Tremor, the word of mouth marketing unit of Procter & Gamble, partnered with Keller Fay, the specialist consultancy, asking 32,000 adults to keep daily diaries detailing their brand-related conversations.

Based on data covering 12 months, the research showed 91% of relevant discussions occurred in-person or on the telephone, meaning only 9% arose via new media channels.

As ten times the number of interactions about specific goods and services took place offline rather than online, Chris Laird, the CEO of Tremor, argued a holistic strategy is required.

"It's funny that the term 'word of mouth' can sound quaint and old-fashioned as today's perception is that consumer engagement happens more digitally than at the water cooler," he wrote in Forbes.

"Digital is important but not sufficient ... This is the primary reason we passionately coach brands to strive for a well-rounded approach to WOM and consumer participation, starting with the message itself."

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed that 60% of contributors displayed a "high likelihood" to make purchases as a result of face-to-face discussions regarding a particular product.

Moreover, 67% of offline conversations were discovered to be "mostly positive" in tone, suggesting brands have a huge opportunity if they are able to generate such buzz.

"In this fragmented world, unquestionably the most powerful marketing tool is recommendations from trusted sources, a channel over which we have less control," said Laird.

"If you can achieve something sharable, then your entire marketing plan can be amplified through consumer participation," said Laird.

Tremor's own Vocalpoint network boasts 600,000 female members, offering them useful articles and features, and requesting their opinions on matters from cleaning to haircare, yielding crucial insights.

"It's hard work to systemically drive offline conversations about your brand. It's hard to execute and measure real-world experiences that lead to real-world participation, but it's critical for well-rounded engagement," Laird said.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff