Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing
Referring a product or service is not a new idea, it’s been around as long as people have—but is the way people make recommendations changing with the times? Despite increased online activity, new research from Mintel shows real-life referrals are still more influential to consumers than those received online.
Mintel’s exclusive consumer survey showed most people who bought a product or service based off a recommendation did so on a referral from a friend/relative or husband/wife/partner (34% and 25%, respectively). Only 5% of respondents bought based on the recommendation of a blogger, the same for a chat room.
“It’s interesting to find that as much time as we spend online, we still prefer a personal recommendation from someone we know and trust,” states Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel. “Young adults are somewhat more likely to turn to the Internet for advice and referrals, but even they listen to their peers first.”
Most people base a recommendation on price and convenience, according to Mintel. Especially in the current economic climate, where shoppers are compelled to find the lowest price, it’s not surprising that more than 64% of respondents state that price drove them to recommend a product or service, while quality (55%) and convenience (33%) follow behind.
Mintel reports that Asian and Hispanic respondents are considerably more likely to recommend a product they saw advertised. Asians (14%) and Hispanics (10%) are also more likely to report being influenced by bloggers to purchase a specific product or service.
“The sheer number of people that purchase based on recommendations proves marketers need to pay attention to word of mouth,” states Chris Haack. “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.”