Word-of-mouth marketing meets the 21st century

Here’s a RetailWire comment from a recent panel discussion about “word of mouth” marketing. The issue is whether retailers need to be more tuned into what their customers are saying about them, as technology migrates from the back fence to the smartphone. My opinion:

Assuming the integrity of reviews posted online, there is no doubt that sites like Yelp! and TripAdvisor have taken the idea of “word of mouth” to a completely different level. It’s true that the user of these sites misses the face-to-face aspect of personal conversations with friends and family, but these sites are powerful points of reference for consumers’ decision-making.

As TripAdvisor in particular evolves from a pure review site to an e-commerce site for hotel booking, it can build upon the sort of data mining and engagement models that companies like Amazon have already mastered.

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