If there would be a country like Bloglandia, the nation would have been founded in the mid 1990´s.
With a total population of 181 million blogs, it would constitute the sixth largest country in the world. As in any other society, citizens vary from amateurs to professionals, talking about almost any topic you can imagine. Women in Bloglandia would be treated extremely well as the ratio of male to female bloggers is 3:2. Would readers be international visitors, the province of wordpress.com, where shoppernewsblog is living, would attract some 343 million visitors each month. However, influential citizens as Huffington Post and TMZ alone would speak to some 54,000,000 and 19,000,000 travelers, respectively, during the same period.
What if you could convince both to talk favorably about your brand?
Word-of-mouth is a powerful, yet often underutilized, marketing tool. According to McKinsey´s 2010 “A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing”, 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth. As the article states, it is the only factor that ranks among the top three influences at any stage along the path to purchase.
McKinsey classifies word-of-mouth recommendations into three categories:
- Experiential – direct product / service experience (i.e. outstanding service)
- Consequential – consequence of traditional media (i.e. an ad that turns viral)
- Intentional – out of deliberate actions taken by a company (i.e. celebrity endorsement)
To calculate the impact of any word-of-mouth campaign, McKinsey proposes a simple equation: Volume x Impact = Word-of-mouth equity. Volume merely refers to the amount of messages on a specific topic, whereas impact is influenced by four variables namely, network, message content, sender, and message source.
About 8% to 10% are what McKinsey calls influentials, individuals who generate three times more word-of-mouth recommendations and exercise a disparate influence on the purchasing decision. In addition, “(a)bout 1 percent of the people are digital influentials – most notably, bloggers – with disproportionate power”.
What does this imply for bloggers? What is in for companies?
Shopper Marketing magazine presented some interesting case studies in its April 2012 issue. One describes the example of Wal-Mart’s Ice Cream Social sampling events in collaboration with Nestlé aimed at driving traffic to 3,000 participating locations. Accordingly, 110 bloggers were selected to visit the events and post on their experience, among them 10 bloggers with a larger reach. During the six-week promotion, sales increased by 37%. As Nestlé´s US shopper marketing manager Andi Pratt states, “user-generated content (…) doesn´t feel as forced, doesn´t feel like a singular brand message or retailer message is being forced upon a shopper.”
According to industry reports, bloggers´ influence on purchasing decision is augmenting, especially among younger shoppers. Blogher.com´s “2012 Women and Social Media Study” revealed that 61% of the total US female online population made a purchase based on a recommendation posted in a blog. Furthermore, social media is the number one tool for customers to share product experiences. Above all, younger shoppers use social media to comment on products.
Marketers who recognized the power of bloggers increasingly try taking influence on published posts. According to technorati.com more than 60% of professional bloggers were contacted to comment on specific products. The article states further, “(t)he most frequently approached (…) bloggers report being approached more than 200 times per week.”
As fewer shoppers trust traditional media, word-of-mouth becomes a powerful tool for marketers. Moreover, since few companies know how to effectively influence positive recommendations, the ones who do will gain a valuable competitive advantage.
So better help the small village of shoppernewsblog to attract some more visitors by spreading the word!