Friday, April 11, 2008
Friends, Family, Most Influential in Brand Purchases
A new study by ZenithOptimedia's Touchpoints ROI Tracker, a comprehensive project comprising over 300,000 interviews across 34 countries and covering more than 4,000 brands in 126 product and service categories, revealed that word of mouth, or recommendations from family and friends, are most influential on brand purchases with an average score of 84 out of 100. TV and internet search came 2nd, followed by print, outdoor, radio, newspaper, and internet banner ads. Word of mouth is so powerful but making it scalable, or accessible to marketers is a daunting task. It is extremely difficult to get people talking positively about a product that isn't superior by marketing efforts alone. It is also something that the marketers have little control over. Bruce Goerlich, ZenithOptimedia's president of strategic resources, North America says it best, "Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, but we as an industry are not doing as good a job as we could do in generating it,".
This is some obvious stuff right here. Who do you trust more when it comes to products, friends and family, or the cagey and wily marketing executives of a large corporation? The first thing I thought of when I saw this new data on word of mouth was how word of mouth can be involved in almost every stage of the consumer buying process. If you look at the consumer buying process it breaks up into 5 stages.
Need identification- your next door neighbor shows off his new grill, immediately you want one.
Information search- you need a car and you ask your brother in law, a mechanic, for information regarding automobiles.
Evaluation of alternatives- you want a cellphone and have narrowed it down to two models, Samsung, and LG. Your mother has one model, your brother the other. You proceed to ask them what the positives and negatives of their phones are.
Purchase- you make the purchased based on what your friends recommended.
Post purchase evaluation- you have a poor experience with a product, and you tell YOUR friends never to buy it.
This kind of stuff goes on everyday. I personally pay little attention to ads and utilize my friends for reliable information when it comes to purchases. Don't you?