Thursday, October 8, 2015

Six Key Factors that Drive Word of Mouth: Podcast

“Contagious” Author Explains How to Make a Message Viral

By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR

It’s well understood that word-of-mouth is an extremely influential marketing medium, but just how powerful may surprise you.

According to Wharton Professor of Marketing Jonah Berger, $1 invested in WOM may actually be worth up to 10 times that of a conventional ad dollar
Jonah Berger

“Word-of-mouth underlies most of the decisions people make.”

“Word-of-mouth underlies most of the decisions people make,” he told The Research Insighter.

As such, a good read on WOM may be one of the most valuable forms of consumer intelligence one could hope for, but are we really getting one?

Researchers and marketers have increasingly fixated on passive capture of WOM through technology—social media analytics, NLP, etc.

But despite all of the hype around Facebook, Twitter, etc., Berger—author of the best-seller “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”—points out only about 7% of WOM happens online.

This isn’t to say that social media isn’t a good WOM proxy, but Berger advises not to get too hung up on technology and media platforms—they come and go.

“We need to stop thinking in terms of technology and start thinking in terms of psychology.”

“We all understand word-of-mouth affects sales, but most businesses aren’t being scientific about how to harness it and use those customer insights to drive their sales,” he explained.

“We need to stop thinking about WOM in terms of technology and start thinking in terms of psychology,” Berger said.

In this podcast for The Research Insighter interview series, Jonah Berger shares his “STEPPS” framework and the six factors that prompt people to pass something on...

Listen to the podcast!

Download the transcript!

Editor’s note: Jonah Berger will be speaking at TMRE 2015—The Market Research Event—now in its 13th year as the largest, most comprehensive research conference in the world taking place November 2-4 in Orlando.

For information or to register, please visit

Ps. SAVE $100 when you register with code TMRE15BL!

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a publication for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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