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Trust Word-of-Mouth

Look who’s talking

In a poll of chief marketing officers from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association (AMA), the top overall customer priority named was service excellence, followed by building a trusting relationship.

Customer Priorities in the Next 12 Months According to US Marketers, February 2009 (% of respondents)

Unfortunately, building trust can be difficult.

A 2007 Myers Publishing study found only 17% of people trusted advertisers. And things got worse in 2008, when respondents to a Gallup poll said that only 10% of ad practitioners were trustworthy.

Not surprisingly, a 2007 survey from Bridge Ratings found that the most trusted source among US consumers was their own friends, family and acquaintances. In 2009, a TNS poll indicated that the number one trusted source across all media was “recommendations by friends.”

Therefore, it is essential for businesses to find evangelists for their brands who spread the gospel on their own.

According to BIGresearch, however, word-of-mouth recommendations have different effects depending on the type of purchase.

Over one-half of consumers believed that word-of-mouth influenced the restaurants they went to. Fewer were influenced on electronics purchases (44%) and groceries (41%), and slightly more than one-third felt word-of-mouth had some impact on home improvement and apparel purchases.

US Consumers Who Believe Word-of-Mouth Influences Their Purchases, by Category and Race/Ethnicity, October 2008 (% of respondents in each group)

The effectiveness of word-of-mouth also depended on ethnicity. Whites were the most easily swayed by friend recommendations, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics.

Leveraging word-of-mouth marketing initiatives might matter more to some retailers and product sellers than to others—but whether to a greater or lesser extent, word-of-mouth matters, always. Trust me on that.

Always get digital marketing and media information you can trust, from an unbiased source, check into an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.



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