Betting Bigger Bucks on Buzz

MouthSpending on word-of-mouth marketing "has increased from $76 million in 2001 to $981 million in 2006 and is expected to grow to approximately $3.7 billion by 2011," according to a report by PQ Media. Still, word-of-mouth marketing accounts for just 0.4% of the estimated $254 billion spent on all marketing services, which includes direct marketing, branded entertainment and public relations. The new report defined word-of-mouth marketing as "supported by research and technology that encourages consumers to dialogue about products and services." Word-of-mouth may be more effective than traditional advertising. Nearly 80 percent of those polled in a recent Nielsen Global Survey ranked "recommendations from consumers" as the most credible source for product information. Newspapers were ranked second-most credible.