Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.
Among consumers who sometimes or always recommend brands to others, sharing information face-to-face (80 percent) remains by far the most popular method of doing so, far ahead of e-mail (51 percent) and social networks (39 percent), per results from a COLLOQUY study. Still, recommendations appear to be slowly moving online: the proportion using social networks has edged up by four percent points since 2010 while offline face-to-face conversations have fallen by the same amount. One group appears to be leading the charge.
The study, based on responses from 2980 U.S. survey participants, identifies a subset of consumers dubbed "WOM Champions" — those who are highly likely to recommend their favorite brands and who are also well-connected and communicative — comprising 28 percent of the general population. Among WOM Champions who are also loyalty program members, 60 percent are using social networking platforms to discuss products and services, up from 48 percent in 2010. Half also use mobile messaging to discuss brands, up from 30 percent in 2010.
Forty percent of young adults are WOM Champions, as are 38 percent of core women and 37 percent of Hispanics.
On which social networks can these WOM champions be found? According to the study, although Facebook is predictably the most commonly used site (by 66 percent), Twitter (29 percent), Google+ (25 percent), Pinterest (21 percent) and Instagram (16 percent) are also used by a significant proportion.
The study also found that 73 percent of young respondents find it acceptable for brands to communicate with customers over social media. But when overall respondents were asked what type of social communications they wanted, they not so unsurprisingly listed special perks and deals.
Asked on a 20-point scale to rank how appealing a list of social media behaviors by brands are, the most appealing communication was "Surprising you from time to time with exclusive perks," averaging 12.9 points. That was followed closely by "Alerting you to loyalty rewards options for which you're eligible" (12.3); "Alerting you to personalized deals or offers" (11.7); and "Inviting you to engage in contests for points/prizes" (11.6).
Scoring lower was "Posting several updates a day" (7.6 points out of 20); "Monitoring your posts of tweets" (also 7.6); and "Encouraging you to 'Like/Share/Post/Tweet/Pin"' (7.5). Coming in last was "Tracking your location by mobile device to offer you deals" (6.4).
Will WOM marketing campaigns driven by social networks need to be more or less deal-driven than typical offline WOM campaigns?