Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Army Of Influencers

Leaders of opinion are a common target for marketers and PRs. They are suppose to influence people in their purchase and lifestyle. But the Internet, and more specifically the Instant Internet has changed the concept of leaders of opinion.

First of all, anyone could become a leader of opinion, if he wants to. You don't need to be a star, highly educated or so. You simply need, as would say Henri Kaufman "a pen... And a good idea". Well, I should be more precised. You need an Internet access, and something to say.

Secondly, which results of the first point, there is an army of influencers. There is no minority which could influence people. The Internet has enabled anyone to post, to be seen on the web, and hence, anyone could influence its community. That is the reason why PR must reinvent themselves, and turn into community managers that would be able to understand and leverage this mass of people which communicate and speak about brands and products.

I wanted to share with you this article:Over 100 Million Consumers Worldwide are Word of Mouth Advocates, Ground-Breaking Research by Zuberance Shows

This article explains how the game has changed, and how there are millions of influencers that are playing an active role in the customer decision making process. And thanks to mobile Internet, it will become even more true.

Advocates’ Recommendations are #1 Influencer of Consumers& Business Buyers’ Purchase Decisions

More than 100 million consumers worldwide are Word of Mouth Advocates, a massive, highly influential, yet under-leveraged sales and marketing force, according to ground-breaking research by Zuberance, the leading online Word of Mouth marketing company.

Advocates are people who frequently recommend brands and products. Empowered by Social Media, millions of Advocates are:

  • Evangelizing their favorite brands and products on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, and on other social networks, online communities, and forums
  • Writing positive reviews on sites like Amazon.com, ePinions, and Angie’s List plus on e-tailers’ and manufacturer websites. (TripAdvisor boasts more than 20 million reviews while Yelp has 5 million user reviews with positive reviews outnumbering negative by 6:1.)
  • Posting positive comments about brands and products on YouTube, on blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo or even creating advocate blogs like ”Slave to Target”

In addition, millions of Advocates are spreading positive Word of Mouth about brands and products in face to face settings, such as offices, restaurants, golf courses, trade shows, and more.

”Army of Advocates”

”An army of Advocates is evangelizing companies, brands, and products online and offline, and these recommendations lead directly to purchases,” said Rob Fuggetta, Founder&CEO of Zuberance. ”Yet many companies are missing a major opportunity to increase sales because they are not identifying and mobilizing these influential Advocates,” Fuggetta added.

In the U.S. alone, about 30 million U.S. adult Internet users are ”Word of Mouth Influencers” - adults who are opinion leaders and whose advice is sought, trusted, and acted upon by other consumers, according to eMarketer.

Advocacy is a global phenomenon. According to GfK Roper, 80% of consumers surveyed in 25 countries across five continents frequently recommend brands and products to their friends and colleagues with the average consumer recommending 3.7 brands. The total adult population in the 25 countries included in the Roper study is more than one billion people.

Advocates are Brand’s Most Effective Salespeople

Advocates’ recommendations drive sales. Numerous surveys by independent market research firms have shown that Word of Mouth is up to five times more influential than advertising, email, and search engine marketing. According to a study by Forrester Research, Inc., 84% of business buyers said peers’ Word of Mouth recommendations influenced their purchase decisions while only 24% said blogs impacted their choices. In a global Neilsen survey, 78% of consumers said they trust Word of Mouth recommendations from other consumers while only 26% trust banner ads.

Key Findings of Zuberance Research

The Zuberance study found that:

  • Approximately 40% of a company’s customers -- a surprisingly high percentage -- are highly likely to recommend the company and its products or services to friends or colleagues. Among the companies included in the Zuberance study, the percentage of company’s customers who are highly likely to recommend ranged from 25% for a business products company to 76% for a consumer electronics manufacturer.
  • About 25% of a company’s customers are Advocates. This percentage can vary, depending on several factors including the type of company or product and how easy a company makes it for highly-satisfied customers to spread positive Word of Mouth.
  • Depending on the size of its customer base, a company may have hundreds of thousands to millions of Advocates. For example, a consumer electronics company with 10 million customers may have approximately one to two million Advocates.

Ground-Breaking Word of Mouth Research

Zuberance’s findings are included in a ground-breaking, five-part research report on the power of Word of Mouth Advocacy. Entitled ”Mobilizing Advocates, Driving Sales Now,” the report is one of the most comprehensive ever on Word of Mouth Advocates. To date, Zuberance has surveyed over 100,000 customers across numerous multiple industries and verticals including automotive, consumer electronics, consumer software, housewares, travel and tourism, and business products and services. In addition, the report leverages research on Word of Mouth and Advocates by highly-respected market research firms. The first report in the Zuberance series - ”An Army of Advocates” - is available now at www.zuberance.com/research.

About Zuberance

Zuberance is a leading online Word of Mouth marketing company. Global 2000 companies and others are using Zuberance’s ground-breaking Word of Mouth marketing platform now to identify and mobilize their highly-satisfied customers (AKA ”Advocates”), cost-effectively increasing sales. Headquartered in San Carlos, CA, Zuberance is backed by Emergence Capital Partners, the leading venture capital firm focused on early and growth-stage Technology-Enabled Services companies. For more information, visit Zuberance at www.zuberance.com, call 800.962.0590 or email info@zuberance.com.