I was just checking out Dave Balter's new book, The Word of Mouth Manual, Volume II (click to download in pdf free), as mentioned on Seth's blog. Dave published an interesting formula to calculate the value of a traditional commercial to word of mouth communication-
(# of traditional media impressions) X (Average length of impressions) = (# of word of mouth communications) X (Average length of word of mouth communications)
Compare these numbers and see how many people you need talking about your product versus being totally engaged with your commercial:
# of traditional media impressions (the total number of people who saw your commercials) - 100,000
Average length of impressions - 30 seconds
Average length of word of mouth communications - 480 seconds (8 minutes)
100,000 X 30 = 3,000,000/480=6,250
According to his equation, the equivalent of 100,000 people watching, understanding and digesting a 30 second ad are 6,250 people having a conversation.
How can you get those people talking about you/your products and service instead of spending money on advertising? Did you start with a great (remarkable) product/service? Are you applying marketing physics - the product has an overt benefit, with a dramatic difference and that gives people a real reason to believe that you are able to deliver that benefit. Wrap these things all together with a 5th grade level explanation and you have a winner on your hands.