Olivier Blanchard: How to Measure Word of Mouth — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

11:55 — Bergen Anderson introduces BrandBuilder‘s Olivier Blanchard.

11: 56 — Olivier introduces himself, and begins by talking about engagement. Vertical engagement is what we typically talk about–the brand talking to the customer, which is based on campaigns and is on message.

11:57 — Word of mouth really scales when customers are talking to each other.

11:58 — Everything a company does costs money. Everything has a cost assigned to it and it takes resources. All of these resources generate 100% of your business. (head count, advertising, e-marketing, IT, marketing, accounting, sales, pr, etc.)

12:00 — The boss wants to know how will this (Word of mouth) help the business. What are you trying to accomplish.

12:01 — Olivier explains that you have to find the objective first before finding the tactics. Tactics do not dictate tactics. F.R.Y.

– Frequency

– Reach

– Yield

Most organizations that are older allow sales to drive strategy. The VP of sales generally has a lot of power when it comes to this. Increase how often customers buy from us each month
Increase the net number of transacting customers
Increase average spend per transaction

12:03 — Olivier says that ultimately, the P&L drives business decisions.

1. Will it save me money?

2. Will it generate more revenue?

12:04 — ROI is a business metric, not a media metric. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just hav eto understand it. ROI is 100% media-agnostic. Only measuring digital or social won’t get you anywhere. If that’s what you measure cause that’s what they do, that’s great, but you have to get the bigger picture. You can’t just rely on digital and Google analytics.

12:05 — Olivier shows the slide, “WOM vs. R.O.I. – A tale of operational silos”

It’s really difficult to build social media and word of mouth into an existing department. WOM = online reputation management. ROI = Measurement. ROI rests with an analyst. Social Media and WOM are related to a community manager, or customer support.

12:07 — Olivier says, “You can’t measure WOM. It’s love! How do you measure love?”

12:08 — Olivier says that social media “gurus” will tell you don’t worry about the ROI. While that may be true, the problem always lies in the boss. Who wants you to, “show him the money”.

12:09 — Too many agencies only measure the non-financial impact as opposed to tracking the initial investment all the way to a real financial impact. Examples of non-financial impact:

– Twitter followers
– Facebook Fans
– Job applications

12:11 — The boss man gets tired about the conversation, or the “good” Google analytics. Are you converting the love into a financial impact? It is important to measure the financial impact, but the WOM exists within the non-financial impact. Word of mouth has to impact customer behaviors in order to drive ROI.

12:12 — Establish a baseline. Measure what you’re already doing. Don’t measure everything. Figure out what is most important to you. Measure that. Start measuring what happens after implementing a word of mouth or social media program. If you see a spike in growth since the implementation of a wom program you know there is impact.

12:13 — Olivier says to monitor the impact of positive mentions and negative mentions. See where you can measure spikes. Compare these spikes in conversation, comments, followers, fans, friends, to sales spikes.

12:14 — Olivier shows the slide, “Overlay your data as a time line”. Look for patterns. Look for increases after spikes that could have been influenced by a word of mouth program.

12:15 — Olivier says, “Prove and disprove your information”

12:16 — Case Study: Spend Justification. Retailer expected that print advertising didn’t work for them. 90% of budget was for print ads that targeted the types of customers that went to their store. The retailer suspected they weren’t earning money from their print ads.

12:17 — Solution: added promotional codes on each different type of online word of mouth for email, Twitter, Facebook, and the blog. They didn’t track anything except for the promo code uses on their sales. The results:

– 4% came from print ad codes
– 69% came from email
– 17% came from facebook
– 10% came from the blog

12:19 — Once the retailer discovered this he started targeting his customers based on this data. The 4% of sales lost from abandoning print ads after these results came out resulted in a 27% increase in sales the next year as the print ads were costing the most amount of money.


Q: What advice do you have for B to B companies? The return may be months down the road and the transaction cost is higher.

A: Olivier: Patience. You have better metrics to measure the returns, but you have to go in understanding that it does take patience. You have to understand you won’t get results right away, but you will be able to track the results when they do start coming in. You have to be dilligent with the methodology and patient with the results, and it will work.

Q: How do you think about ROI when you have an organization that is constantly trying new forms of marketing?

A: Olivier: It’s exceedingly difficult, and everyone has to work together, because you have to tweak the ratios to account for a return because right now it’s not an exact science due to all the variables, and there is no tool available to measure this–but you can only prove a certain percentage of it. Typically, most companies do not change what they are doing very much.

Q: What’s your opinion of marketing mixed modeling?

A: Olivier: I think it’s great–that’s really what we’re talking about. It’s not a question of new vs. old marketing–the only way this all works is if you blend it all together. There is still a place for advertising. You just have to incorporate it all. If you focus more on the objectives and outcomes, more than the tactics, you have a better chance at success.

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