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Influencers Are Key To Amplifying Word of Mouth

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A co-worker comes into the office raving about the new restaurant down the street and its “to-die-for” wild mushroom risotto. One mother can’t stop prattling on about the all-natural baby shampoo that she started using that doesn’t sting her child’s eyes. The beaming bride swears that the florist she found downtown does the best flower arrangements at the most affordable prices.

These are all examples of word-of-mouth.  The trick for brands is giving people a reason to talk about a product and/or service and making it easy for that influential conversation and the recommendation to take place.

To think that word-of-mouth marketing is an emerging practice today is quite ironic considering it is one of the oldest and most credible forms of advertising. Oldest because consumers once used this form of marketing well before the days of TV commercials, billboards, internet pop-ups, and magazine ads existed. Credible because those who are promoting something are putting their own reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation and not particularly benefiting from it personally.
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Word-of-mouth is the most genuine form of marketing because it originates from a consumer’s natural desire to convey their experience with friends, family and coworkers. However, not every individual who mentions a brand is considered by their peer group to have enough authority to motivate a purchase.

Keller Fay Group, a leading word of mouth marketing research authority, estimates that only 17 percent of the total population can be considered influential.  Angelsmith’s own research on what influences dining decisions uncovered a highly influential subset who are actively sought out 732 percent more than average diners for restaurant recommendations.

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But from that seemingly small percentage, influencers account for billions of dollars in annual sales for a diverse range of products and services, most notably restaurants. According to Chat Threads research, influencers tell between 9 and 13 people about a brand experience.

For brands, the challenge is two fold; coming up with innovative ways to amplify the personal encounters of the consumer by utilizing both on and offline channels to spread that word and; identifying and engaging with the right category influencers for the product, service, or brand.
Influencing the influencer is key. The influencer is the conduit between the brand and the consumer and the initiator in creating sustainable word of mouth.

To learn more about how word of mouth marketing can drive sales for your company, please contact Bill Freed, bill[@]angelsmith.net for samples of case studies from Angelsmith’s library.

1 Comments

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Sean Carolan

November 1, 2012

When you say “Those who are promoting something are putting their own reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation and not particularly benefiting from it personally.”

I agree with this statement, and think this is why Word of mouth communication is the greatest influence in a consumers decision. It simple, people tend to trust other people, especially people they know, and when they recommend stores or brands, there is generally a level of trust and support that cannot be compromised. Although 17% seems pretty low, influence is strong and I hope to see this number grow in the future. Great article, thanks for sharing this knowledge.

-Sean

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