Ad Age reported resutls from a study by ZenithOptimedia

  • Recommendations from family and friends trump all other consumer touchpoints when it comes to influencing purchases, according to new data from Publicis media network ZenithOptimedia. The data comes from ZenithOptimedia's Touchpoints ROI Tracker, a comprehensive project comprising over 300,000 interviews across 34 countries and covering more than 4,000 brands in 126 product and service categories.
  • Consumer touchpoints were each given a "contact clout factor," a number on a scale of 1 to 100 that indicates the relative influence of the touchpoint on purchasing.
  • Recommendations from family and friends led the pack with an average score of 84. TV ads and Internet search were next, with an average score of 69 and 67, followed by magazine ads at 60, newspaper ads at 55, outdoor ads at 45, radio ads at 42, and Internet banner ads at 41.

Here's an interesting quote:

  • Though word-of-mouth may be one of the greatest influences on brand choice, marketers still face a great challenge is making it scalable, said Bruce Goerlich, ZenithOptimedia's president of strategic resources, North America. "Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, but we as an industry are not doing as good a job as we could do in generating it," he said.

Maybe he hasn't heard of Bazaarvoice :-)

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