Hyperdrive Customer Influence: Artfully Dovetailing Advertising with Social Media


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At the end of the day, we support concepts articulated by Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy Group and word-of-mouth marketing consultant, Andy Sernovitz. Namely, advertising, as both a craft and a component of marketing, can’t afford to separate itself from the need to contribute to brand or product positive downstream customer behavior, nor to align itself with, and leverage, the growing power of online and offline social media.

If the advertising for a product or service is passive, intellectually unstimulating and boring, undifferentiated, or, even worse, focused on being interruptive and doesn’t contribute to generating customers and building advocacy behavior, then its value is indeed limited. If it’s energized and engaging, effectively cuts through the message clutter evident in both b2b and b2c advertising, and creates or reinforces a positive impression, then advertising can work effectively with, or dovetail into, the word-of-mouth desired from targeted customers.

What needs to be more openly and actively recognized, by all parties involved in sales, marketing, branding, customer experience, and advertising is that online and offline social word-of-mouth is now, and will continue to be, a fact of life:

– Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted – nearly 12 times more – than descriptions that come from manufacturers (eMarketer, February, 2010)

– The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)

– 74% of online shoppers are influenced by the opinions of others in their decision to buy products or services (Manage Smarter, September, 2009)

– 90% of consumers trust opinions from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users (Econsultancy, July 2009)

– Social networks are growing in importance as a source of decision-making input. In a study by My Yearbook, 81% of respondents said they’d received advice from friends and followers relating to a product or service purchase through a social site, and close to three-quarters of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decisions (ClickZ, January, 2010)

This is, indeed, irrefutably strong evidence of the new realities for advertising.

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.


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