UPDATE: Word of Mouth Marketing Budgets Indicate That Social Media Marketing Is Here To Stay

... as if there was any question. 

Oh, you mean the question in the title of my last post, Does Social Media Impede Sales?  That was rhetorical, and the answer, in case you missed the tongue planted firmly in cheek, is, only if you're not participating.

eMarketer released some market research from PQ Media, entitledWord-of-Mouth Posts Big Gains, reporting a 26.6% increase in US word of mouth marketing expenditure in 2008, in an economy that showed media sales dropping by 3.6% for the same year.  Seems like the C-Level are finally seeing the value and return from investing in the conversation.

These numbers aren't that shocking, nor is it surprising to see that the CPG and Food and Beverage categories lead the spending.  Look for the Health Care and Pharma segment to significantly increase their social media budgets in the two years to come as social media usage become seven more mainstream and regulations ease in the face of a new communications landscape.