WOM spending continues to riseOverall ad spending may be down, but word of mouth spending certainly isn’t. Research from PQ Media estimates total 2009 word of mouth spending at over $1.7 billion, up 10.2% over last year. They go on to project that this figure will continue to rise at 14.5% compounded annually between 2008 and 2013.

And these figures come at a time when budgets are being cut left and right. Recent eMarketer reports predict an 8.2% decline in total media ad spending over 2008. WOM spending’s “double-digit growth in this economic environment is a strong sign of an increasingly prevalent role in the future,” says Patrick Quinn, president and CEO of PQ Media.

What should all these additional dollars spent on WOM be targeting? “The most influential marketer in a consumer’s life is someone they know and trust, such as a family member, friend or colleague,” said Quinn. No surprise there – recommendations from friends and family are still the information source most valued by customers, followed by customer opinions posted online.

Social media has made these influencers more powerful and connected than ever before. So how can a brand capitalize on these opinions? By integrating with social media to help customers help each other.  The first step to getting customers to talk is to give them a voice. In generating word of mouth, amplifying this voice is the key to turning WOM into ROI.

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