Word-of-Mouth Driving ERPM Platforms, Report Says
Cost-conscious businesses will increasingly turn to communications platforms for e-mail, reputation and presence management (ERPM) in order to expand and manage their customer base, a report from BIA/Kelsey projects.A report by local media consulting company BIA/Kelsey concluded that although rapid growth of digital word-of-mouth through online reviews and social media is still an untapped opportunity for small to medium-size businesses looking to expand their customer base, this will change as SMBs adopt more sophisticated marketing practices that require advanced communications platforms for e-mail, reputation and presence management. The firm forecasts revenues for ERPM to grow from $460 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013. The number of SMBs using ERPM will increase from approximately 500,000 to nearly 4 million during the forecast period. The e-mail segment of ERPM comprises subscription-based software-as-a-service (SAAS) providers and e-mail marketing agencies that tailor their solutions to the needs of SMBs. In 2008 this segment represented 64 percent of the ERPM market, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director of interactive local media for BIA/Kelsey, said SMBs will soon have a window into digital word-of-mouth, noting there are too many disparate conversations going on through social networks, user reviews, message boards and online affinity groups for a small business to find, let alone track, manually.