One of the major principles of WOM is the freedom. In the first class consumers’ need for greater contro was identified as one of the reasons WOM is so hot right now. And it is with this in mind that I write my last blog for the term.
Dr. Carl said that he would post the top three responses to our WOM episode surveys(pdf). Well, in the spirit of this freedom, I am going to post my blog post about the WOM episodes here. Yes, it is not as official as if Dr. Carl had posted it with his approval, but that is a key part of WOM: even people who are not in control of the traditional establishment get a voice. Other people’s responses may have been more thought provoking, but that is another aspect of WOM: idiots get the same right to speak as the informed. So without further ado, here is my blog on my word of mouth episodes:
Throughout the semester, we were tasked with documenting three WOM episodes that we experienced. We would fill out a short survey (with both quantitative and qualitative components) about the episodes. At the end, we are to write a summary of our findings. These were our only real parameters.
The first thing I noticed was the diversity of the conditions surrounding the episodes. One episode was with my best friend at a restaurant, but another was with the man working the register at IHOP. It would be difficult to get a wider emotional difference between two people. I had an episode happen in the afternoon, one at dinner, and one at 3 am, so clearly there is also diversity in the times where these episodes take place. I guess the key take away point from all of this is that WOM episodes can happen anywhere, with anyone, at anytime.
There was one common tie between the three episodes: all three did occur in places of business, so maybe I am more likely to discuss products and services in such a setting.
Another finding was that my episodes were very short. When talking to strangers or acquaintances, the episode only lasted for a minute or two. When talking to my best friend, the episode was longer, about five minutes. However, when you take into account that the entire conversation I had with him was about an hour, the 5 minutes we spent talking about Al Gore’s new movie is really a small period time. So the second take-away point is that WOM episodes seem to be short.
My third observation was a bit more meta. While trying to make observations about my three documented episodes, I had trouble. I realized that it is difficult to generalize one’s WOM behavior by three specific episodes. I estimated that I have 25 WOM episodes a day, so analyzing only three over seven weeks is a very small sample. Dr. Carl explained to me that we were only to use these as a starting point, but I still see a problem with this. It is likely that we focus on WOM episodes that make us seem cool and knowledgeable, and ignore those when someone else made us feel unhip or uninformed. This is a major problem with the self-report approach. I think it is dangerous to summarize one’s WOM interactions based on just three episodes.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication