Duke University and American Marketing Association poll of CMOsAt a time when customer switching is high, it’s increasingly important to foster a trusting relationship with your customers. In a recent Duke University and American Marketing Association poll of chief marketing officers, building a trusting relationship with customers was named the second overall customer priority for the next year, just behind service excellence.

At the same time, it’s increasingly difficult to gain customers’ trust. Only 17% of people trust advertisers, according to a 2007 Myers Publishing study, and a 2008 Gallup poll found that only 10% of advertisers were perceived as trustworthy by consumers.

Customers do, however, trust recommendations. “Recommendations from friends” were found to be the most trusted source across all media in a 2009 TNS poll. Capitalizing on these recommendations is crucial for brands in building customer trust.

What’s more, customers recognize that these recommendations actually influence their behavior. Over half of all consumers believe word-of-mouth influences their restaurant choices, according to an October 2008 BIGresearch study. Word-of-mouth had different effects on different types of purchases and among different races, but these word-of-mouth recommendations always matter.Consumers believe word-of-mouth influences their purchases

It’s one thing to recognize the importance of word-of-mouth, but it’s another to capitalize on it. Allow your customers to contribute feedback and recommendations in a forum where other, like-minded customers will see it. Make it easy for them to share these recommendations with their existing networks of friends. Place this UGC where other customers can find it – on your website and product pages – so it can influence your customers in every phase of the purchase path.

Enabling conversation with your customers will build trust in your brand – and drive your sales, too. Word-of-mouth matters; make it work for your brand.

Images courtesy of eMarketer.

6 Responses to “Word of mouth matters”

  1. Agree with you Jennifer. I have talked to a couple non-profits about this very matter, and few of them realize what they are leaving on the table.

  2. Thank you for this informative post!

    This article is also a must read for non-profits who are struggling to attract donors during this period of economic downturn. “Word of Mouth” marketing is a powerful, cost-effective tool for building and retaining followers and leveraging limited organizational resources.

    Jennifer De Guelle, MSW
    Social Media Charity Matters at
    AustinMSW.com

  3. Thank you for this informative post!

    This article is also a must read for non-profits who are struggling to attract donors during this period of economic downturn. “Word of Mouth” marketing is a powerful, cost-effective tool for building and retaining followers and leveraging limited organizational resources.

    Jennifer De Guelle, MSW
    Social Media Charity Matters at
    AustinMSW.com

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