Honesty Increases Effectiveness of Word of Mouth Campaigns
Northeastern University Department of Communication Assistant Professor Walter Carl and BzzAgent have released a study entitled To Tell or Not to Tell which explored how disclosure and transparency, two hot buttons in the word of mouth segment, effected campaigns. Initially, it was thought disclosing one's involvement in a word of mouth campaign would have negative effects. Carl's study proves that notion wrong and finds disclosure actually can increase the effectiveness of a word of mouth campaign.
The study found 75 percent of those targeted by a word of mouth participant were not bothered by speaking with someone affiliated with a campaign and that honesty and respect for the person's best interests was very important. Of note, the study found honest disclosure actually increased pass-along or the number of people the person told once they had spoken with a word of mouth marketing agent. Word of mouth was also found to increase the believability of other sources of brand claims made in other media when a person heard similar information from a word of mouth marketing agent. The study did reveal, five percent of participants were negatively affected if they were not told they were being marketed to.
We can hear the yelps of glee all the way up here in the Northeast as this study is presented today to attendees at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference in Orlando.