Let's face it—consumers really don't trust advertisers like they used to. In an era when savvy consumers are bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages a day, traditional marketing channels become increasingly less effective.

And as new technologies amplify the voice of the consumer, and one-to-one conversations blossom into many dialogues, the allure of a word-of-mouth, or WOM, campaign becomes increasingly compelling.

WOM is the practice of engaging influential users in a given community, creating a positive brand experience for them, and letting them propagate an authentic and unique brand message to their friends.

For example, when Brown-Foreman sought to reinforce the popularity of its Chambord Liqueur, it reached out to influencers such as bartenders through an aggressive, entertaining educational program. These people then went on to build awareness among their audiences.

WOM campaigns can be relatively low-cost, and when successful they can create a memorable and lasting approach to brand marketing.

One problem with a program as unstructured as a typical WOM engagement, however, is that it can be very difficult to measure results. Yet, in the current economic environment, with marketing budgets tightening, it is more important than ever for marketers to be able to show the ROI associated with projects.

It's not impossible to measure a WOM campaign—the process just requires some creative thought and tailoring to a specific campaign. Here are some ways to capture results.

Indexing tools pull valuable data from the blogosphere

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evan Gerber is the principal experience design consultant at Molecular(www.molecular.com), a member of the Isobar network of agencies (www.isobar.net).