We have all heard that the only way to grow your business is through word of mouth marketing. But relying on it is a HUGE risk­—so what do you do?

A study done by Ketchum and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center proved that word of mouth can make or break a communications campaign. Yikes!

Advice from family and friends is used by 44% of consumers when making purchase decisions, and nearly one in four follows the advice from co-workers. Credibility is high for both groups. And while word of mouth cannot be controlled, communicators who understand the information needs of consumers – and those who influence them – can sway it by providing the information accurately and creatively.