Offline WOM Still Where It’s At
By Tom Ryan
Despite all the attention
given to social networks, the medium doesn’t appear to be driving consumer
purchases yet. According to a survey of consumers by Mintel,
only five percent bought something based on the recommendation of a blogger or
a chat room. Leading was the referral from a friend or relative (34 percent)
or spouse/partner (25 percent).
"People aren’t going
online to get a recommendation from a blogger or
a social network," Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel,
told MediaPost’s Marketing Daily. "It’s
probably a bit of a trust issue. You can’t have the same level of intimacy
online as you can in person."
The study found that
young adults who are more likely to use social networks are not surprisingly
more likely to use the internet for advice and referrals. It also found that Asian
and Hispanic consumers – also more active in social networks – were
more influenced by bloggers to purchase a product
or service, at 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively. But personal recommendations
still held more influence across demographics by a wide margin.
"The sheer number
of people that purchase based on recommendations proves marketers need
to pay attention to word of mouth," Mr. Haack said
in a statement. "It’s becoming easier for businesses to lose control
of their marketing messages, so companies need to carefully monitor and
respond to consumer conversations about their brands."
Despite the power of
person-to-person recommendations, Mr. Haack told Marketing
Daily that the internet’s social tools shouldn’t
be ignored. The most active people in the social networks tend to also
"influentials," who are
more likely to recommend products and services, Mr. Haack noted.
worth reaching out to them," he said. "For the first time in
history, marketers can have a real-time tracking of their dialogue with
consumers. It would be [foolish] not to take advantage of it."
Given the trust issues, are marketers overestimating the potential of
consumer blogs and social media to drive purchases
and build brands? What can retailers do to drive more offline WOM?
- Mintel finds
people still prefer real-life recommendations to online – Mintel
- People Prefer Offline Recommendations,
Study Find – MediaPost’s Marketing