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The evolution of good old word of mouth

Marija Vorkule
project manager at A.W.Olsen & Partners/Scholz & Friends Riga

Modern Internet users can boast an amazing tunnel vision: advertising seems so persuasive that we have developed an indispensable reflex – it just passes by. While reading an article on a news portal, few people pay attention to what flickers at the bottom right corner, invitingly winking and flirting with bright packages and resounding slogans. Some the most advanced young individuals have even developed a reflex to ignore advertising on Facebook and Instagram, paying no attention to brands.
In these brutal conditions, marketers have to make tricks and to find any ways to get through. Moreover, such a portal in the lives of potential customers really opened some time ago! Let us present to your attention the “influencer marketing” – very personalized and very efficient.
“Influencer marketing” is a child of the well-known “product placement”. However, if in the past products and goods were placed in films, music clips and other places, now social media stars – bloggers and celebrities are increasingly used for this purpose. According to a research conducted by McKinsey Quarterly, the company that has been working on the market for over 50 years, from 20% to 50% of decisions to purchase goods or services are made based on the recommendation. Influencers’ opinion is more than two times effective than the standard paid marketing, and the likelihood that the client attracted by the influencer will become permanent is 37% higher than at other similar circumstances.
This can be explained by two factors. Firstly, advertising is targeted to everyone who could potentially become a customer. The blogger who the consumer X is monitoring is a different story, because exactly the potential client X has chosen this influencer, so materials he publishes are obviously interesting to this person. In other words, the influencer is the opinion leader, a certain authority for the person X, with whom he identifies himself and listens to; consequently, the influencer’s influence is much bigger than advertising. Second, what or whom you would trust more than yourself: a company that wants you to buy, or the person whose posts you have subscribed for and who merely expresses an opinion about a particular product / service? In a professional environment, this phenomenon is named the following abbreviations – RFI (request for information) and RFP (request for proposal), that is, the consumer’s desire to know about your product, his potential interest in the product.

The era when the slogan “It’s the best product in the world! All run to buy it!” was effective had gone into oblivion, replaced by an era when consumers trust only the expert opinion. Businesses can only determine who is an expert for their potential buyers and bring him to cooperate. As a rule, these are opinion leaders, bloggers and celebrities.
According to the research, the most effective platforms for “influencer marketing” are blogs (39%), Facebook (27%), YouTube (9%), Instagram (6%), Twitter (5%) and other social networks (14%).

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This marketing tool is the fastest growing method of attracting customers, especially because 83% of consumers trust other people’s recommendations and 66% trust the opinion of other users published online.
A quarter (25%) of search queries about brands are encouraged by users posts on social networks, while more than a third (37%) of consumers tend to remain faithful to the brand, being inspired by the so-called word-of-mouth, which in addition two times more effectively stimulates sales than paid advertising (including social networks).
More than half, i.e. 54% of marketers agreed with the view that niche blogs and groups are very effective, while 59% planned to increase the budget provided for this type of communication. Company Tomoson, offering professional services in influencers search (yes that is right, while Europe is still debating whether influencers are effective, the United States has already made business on this!) has calculated that each dollar invested in “influencer marketing” brings a profit of 6.50 dollars.
Moreover, 51% of marketers say that “influencer marketing” attracts a better audience than any other marketing method. Consumers attracted by this method are willing to spend more and more, sharing their experiences with friends and family and becoming another link in the chain of incessant word of mouth.