Boomers Big on Word-of-Mouth - eMarketer

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Boomers Big on Word-of-Mouth

When baby boomers get talking, there's no stopping them.

March 21, 2007

A majority of baby boomers get asked for recommendations on products and services about 90 times every year, according to Weber Shandwick.

Nearly all (89%) of those who were asked for advice gave it to their friends, or fellow boomers. And nearly all boomers (93%) say that they consider their friends (also boomers) to be trusted sources of information.

"When it comes to word-of-mouth recommendations, boomers have both unrivaled influence and rich networks of peer advisors," said Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross of Weber Shandwick.

As with most word-of-mouth, 84% of boomer recommendations are made face to face and 82% by phone, while only 45% are made online.

Select Communication Methods Used* by US Baby Boomers** to Recommend Products or Services, by Age, November-December 2006 (% of respondents in each group)

Boomers aren't alone in their preference for personal contact when it comes to word-of-mouth. In an April 2006 survey, Keller Fay Group found that US consumers vastly prefer in-person communication for marketing-relevant word-of-mouth over e-mail or other interactive channels.

Channels for Marketing-Relevant Word-of-Mouth among US Consumers, April 2006 (% of respondents)

When boomers do go online, many of them research products or services.

Select Online Activities* of US Baby Boomers, November-December 2006 (% of respondents in each group)

The key is to provide enough information online to fuel an offline word-of-mouth campaign.

eMarketer senior analyst (and baby boomer) David Hallerman notes that those intent on using e-mail in word-of-mouth campaigns aren't wasting their efforts either.

"When done correctly," says Mr. Hallerman, "e-mail mixed with word-of-mouth is effective because of trust — people tend to trust others they know more than they'll ever trust advertising and marketing."

Find out how e-mail and word-of-mouth can work together. Read eMarketer's E-Mail and Word-of-Mouth: Connect with Your Best Customers report.

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