eMarketer reported today that six in 10 surveyed US consumers share product advice with friends and family, a finding from Forrester Research's NACTAS Benchmark Study.  

While the highly sought after "Influentials" segment garners much of the focus of word of mouth marketers, Forrester's findings provide ammunition for more broadly focused approaches to enabling and capturing word of mouth.  Rather than thinking in campaign terms, brands should be seriously evaluating tools and technologies that can widely capture consumer opinions, enable deep analysis of what these opinions reveal about brand strengths and weaknesses, and facilitate the distribution of word of mouth to those who actively seek it, from the brand directly or from other sources.  

Fortunately, marketing spending trends suggest that this is in fact happening.  The eMarketer brief also states that spending on word of mouth marketing totaled $1 billion in 2006.  Small by traditional marketing standards but quickly growing, with 2006 spending representing a 36% increase over 2005.   

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