I attended the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s WOMBAT conference today in San Francisco. Day 1 had a number of good panels, including one which covered some research about how people respond to word of mouth recommendations and whether online opinion matters. Interestingly, the research suggested that about 90% of word of mouth recommendations come in offline conversations.
I would be interested to see some follow-up to determine the origin of the recommendation. In other words, did the person making the recommendation originally learn about the product online.
The most engaging panel was one on how to interact with bloggers. As readers of this blog know, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. Chris Shipley of Guideware (who produces the BlogOn conference as well as DEMO) used herself as a case study. She relayed the story about how last year BlogOn denied a free pass to BL Ochman, a prominent PR blogger, and BL took BlogOn and their PR agency to task. In particular, BL was outraged that the agency, Porter Novelli, did not have any official blogs and therefore must be unqualified to engage in blogger relations. Chris explained how she handled the "crisis," especially with another blogger who picked up BL’s post and said Chris was "evil." Within 4 hours, the other blogger (Tara Hunt), had learned more and decided Chris was no longer evil and posted as much on her blog.
The audience really took to this story and a good conversation ensued.
Off to dinner now. Will provide a recap of tomorrow’s sessions when time permits. (Though I should note I will miss lunch to see at least a couple hours of the San Francisco Giants game — hey, they’re playing at lunchtime and I’ve never been to AT&T Park.) I do plan to hear from Shel Israel and Robert Scoble as they discuss Naked Conversations.