Despite More Ways To Talk Up, WOM Is Down

A new study from Colloquy Research reveals that Word of Mouth– the 2011 darling of communications for today’s brands– is shutting down.  According to the Colloquy study, of 3,295 U.S. consumers surveyed, just 58% said they often have conversations with family, friends and coworkers about products and services they’ve used, a full 20% down from 2008 survey results.

This dip is particularly surprising given the enormous increase in texting, mobile and social media like FB and Twitter for spreading the word every time we blink. The reason for the reduced chatter? The continued deflated economy that sucks the air out of bragging rights and even erodes consumption of what’s hot. What’s kind of obvious is that when you are not able to buy a lot of stuff, the coolest new brands aren’t on your lips. In fact, they are probably kind of annoying. If things are tight and your appliances are on their last legs and a friend were to inadvertently gush, “Oh, I just bought this great new washer!”, you would clam up or slug her.

As this limp economy lingers and more women either suffer or (if they are OK) keep their buying sprees under the radar, what will it mean for the brands who have been counting on women’s WOM for their marketing strategies? Does it mean brands will have to step up to the plate again and start doing their own heavy lifting? Or that women, the best viral marketers of all, will put their friendships and empathy ahead of their consumerism and not only not talk up the latest whatever, but instead espouse the virtue of not buying…even when they can?

For more of Mary Lou’s insight on WOM, check out her interview with The Small Business Advocate. CLICK HERE.

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