Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Psst! How Do You Measure Buzz?

Catharine Taylor of Adweek has written an interesting article on the issue of how to measure word-of-mouth. A subscription is required to read the article though a PDF version can be downloaded at John Moore's Brand Autopsy blog. While you're there be sure to read John's commentary on the article. A key issue he raises is whether we should think of WOM as a marketing method (just another tool in the toolbox) or as part of a larger business practice (by which he means a whole culture that supports engagement with stakeholders, openness and transparency, etc.

A related issue I would have liked to have seen in the Adweek article is not only about measurement but about how to more fully understand WOM. That is, when we hear "measurement" we tend to think of quantitative measures and methods; but equally important is the rich understanding that can be gained from more qualitative approaches such as conversational geography focus groups and relational ethnography (a blend of participant-observation, interviewing, and conversation analysis).