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Look who’s talking

September 17, 2006

Sarah Bzdega has a nice article in this morning’s Des Moines Record on word of mouth marketing. .And the Internet is having an impact.

Although people have talked about the products they buy for centuries, the Internet and consumer distrust of big corporations have caused companies to pay more attention to word-of-mouth in recent years.

‘I think it’s only been in the last four years that [people in] communications, public relations specifically, said, ‘Hey, there’s a way to harness conversation to make things happen,” said Ryan Hanser, senior vice president of Hanser & Associates, a public relations firm, and head of the company’s word-of-mouth service.

Although 92 percent of word-of-mouth conversations occur offline, according to Keller Fay’s study, Hanser said the Internet has made these conversations more visible to companies.

The Internet eliminated the middleman, Hanser said. ‘It forced organizations to deal with the fact that now their suppliers, customers and competition could connect with each other directly and start to talk about their experiences.’

‘I think what’s happening, is companies are recognizing that it’s so easy for consumers to share word-of-mouth now,’ said Russ Laczniak, a professor of marketing at Iowa State University. ‘It used to be a friend or relative. Nowadays, you can go onto chat rooms or message boards. There’s word-of-mouth from people across the world and various opinions [that can be obtained] just simply by clicking a mouse, and I think that prevalence has increased so much that marketers say, ‘This could be pretty powerful. This could have negative impact on us if we don’t try to manage it in some way.”

Not only can you listen to the discussion via keyword/keyphrase RSS feeds from Technorati or NewsGator but you can take part in the discussion via your blog and commenting on other blogs.

And as pointed out in the article, some of the discussion about you will be positive. People do share positive experiences with others.

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