Word‐of‐mouth (WOM) marketing has become a key focus for many organisations. However, little research has sought to identify the dimensionality of WOM. The present research project aims to describe the development of a 12‐item measure that can be used to assess WOM at an individual message level for positive and negative WOM and among givers and receivers of WOM.
The research includes four studies, a qualitative focus group phase and quantitative phases involving surveys of over 2,000 consumers representing givers and receivers of positive and negative WOM.
Three distinct dimensions emerged. Two (cognitive content and richness of content) reflect the composition of the message, while the third, termed strength of delivery, reflects the manner of delivery. The scale has strong psychometric properties and was found to be generalisable in the four contexts – sending positive/negative messages and receiving positive/negative messages.
The authors addressed consumers' WOM messages solely in a one‐to one‐context. The results cannot automatically be extended to a variety of other media, which requires future research. Further, the authors did not test the measure in a goods context.
The scale has a variety of potential applications and can serve as a framework for further empirical research in this important area.
While much previous research on WOM relates to the sending of positive WOM, this scale has applicability across four WOM contexts, positive and negative giving and positive and negative receiving.
Sweeney, J., Soutar, G. and Mazzarol, T. (2012), "Word of mouth: measuring the power of individual messages", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 1/2, pp. 237-257. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211189310Download as .RIS
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