Controlling the grapevine

Pruden, Douglas R.; Vavra, Terry G.
July 2004
Marketing Management;Jul/Aug2004, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p24
This article focuses on measuring and managing word-of-mouth advertising. There are two basic aspects to word of mouth: a volume aspect and a content aspect. To track word-of-mouth activity, a volumetric measure is needed. To produce such an index, it is important to momentarily set aside knowledge of the specific issues being associated with your company or product and focus instead on the sheer volume of verbal activity. Once the volumetric measure is calculated, identify the specific operational or product/service-based issues that are the subject of the word of mouth. Then, prioritize both the positive issues and the negative issues. This list can provide a periodic hit list for the management teams to address. The reporting of word of mouth should be as simple as possible to gain wide-spread. volume of verbal activity. Depending on the informational needs, a word-of-mouth barometer can be used to track changes in what is being said and heard regarding a single product, or it can be used to learn on a broader basis what is being said about an entire corporation or organization. On a broader basis, word of mouth can be used to compare the changing perceptions within an entire business category as the various players modify their products, servicing, training, policies, or any of their one-to-one communications with customers.


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