WOMMA 2: Opening Session

Dr. Walter Carl from Northeastern University, one of the leading minds in WOM academics, kicked off the research symposium with a "State of WOM Research and Measurement" address.  Some highlights:

What does it take to start people buzzing?

  • More likely to seek out and listen to WOM when purchase is higher risk, e.g. more talk about autos, less about toilet paper
  • Extreme levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction drive WOM
  • Advertising can stimulate WOM
  • Loyal customers tend to engage in WOM, but not always positive

What’s the ROI of Advocacy?

  • Likelihood to recommend as a proxy measure of advocacy
  • Net Promoter Score (Promoters – Detractors); metric correlated with revenue growth
  • Current controversy about relationship between NPS and business performance
  • Challenge:  WOM is both a driver of future sales and an outcome of past sales

[the jury’s still out on this one.]

Naturally, these points were all supported by citations of academic research, like this.