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Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing - US - April 2009

Consumers are inundated with advertising every day, and as a result, conventional forms of advertising have lost some of their influence. Simply put, the high number of ads seen by most people on a daily basis, combined with a suspicion of advertising and big business, has created the need for marketers to recruit consumers themselves to educate others in their social networks about products and brands. This process, known as “word of mouth” (WOM) or “viral marketing” is becoming more important to manufacturers, retailers and, of course, advertising agencies.

Specifically, the report addresses the following questions:

  • How much influence does word of mouth have on decisions about what products and brands to purchase?
  • Which segments are most likely to be influenced by WOM?
  • Which consumer segments have the highest concentration of “Influentials” who disseminate product and brands WOM?
  • What are the psychological attributes of people who enjoy participating in WOM campaigns by telling others about products and services?
  • What techniques are most likely to drive positive WOM?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations
            • Executive Summary

                • Who are the Influentials?
                  • Demographic comparison of teen Influentials
                    • What inspires Influentials?
                      • Who responds to Influentials?
                        • Media channels that generate buzz
                          • Interest in online tools that can generate buzz
                            • Race and ethnicity
                            • Insights and Opportunities

                              • Delivering on fundamentals like price, quality and service is the key to generating positive WOM
                                • Creating dialogue is an important element of effective WOM
                                  • Young affluents are key influencers
                                    • The rise of multigenerational households could open up new WOM opportunities
                                      • Maximizing the value of WOM and viral campaigns: Generating insights along with buzz
                                        • A note for the auto industry and partners: WOM influences many customers, especially the affluent
                                          • Figure 1: Influence of word of mouth/advice from friends on vehicle purchase, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                        • Regulation on the way?
                                        • Inspire Insights

                                            • Universal Uncertainty
                                              • What’s it all about?
                                                • Specifics
                                                  • Implications
                                                    • Influentials
                                                      • What’s it all about?
                                                        • Specifics
                                                          • Implications
                                                          • Creating Buzz: Case Studies of WOM and Viral Marketing

                                                              • Facebook: Gifts with benefits
                                                                • The Obama Model: Riding the 2.0 wave to the White House
                                                                  • Influencer Ads
                                                                    • BzzAgent: Dunkin’ Donuts Latte Lite
                                                                      • BzzAgent: Tropicana Pure
                                                                        • Super Bowl Ads
                                                                          • E*trade
                                                                            • Figure 2: E*Trade Shankipotamus ad, 2009
                                                                          • Cash4Gold
                                                                            • Figure 3: Ed McMahon and MC Hammer Cash4Gold ad, 2009
                                                                          • Carrotmob: The New Agency?
                                                                            • Colgate Smiles
                                                                              • BzzAgent: Barilla Tortellini
                                                                              • Who are the Influentials?

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Young adults, affluents and parents often provide WOM recommendations
                                                                                    • Figure 4: Attitudes indicating influencers (mean), by age, January 2009
                                                                                    • Figure 5: Attitudes indicating influencers (mean), by income, January 2009
                                                                                    • Figure 6: Attitudes indicating influencers (mean), by presence of children in the HH, January 2009
                                                                                  • Social media tools lend young adults more influence
                                                                                    • New social media tools
                                                                                        • Figure 7: Participation in WOM and social media activities, by age, January 2009
                                                                                      • Americans are wired for social expression
                                                                                        • Figure 8: Social influence traits, by age, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                      • Young adults more likely to report having traits that make them influential
                                                                                        • Figure 9: Social leadership traits, by age, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                        • Figure 10: Social leadership, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                      • Young adults more likely to keep up with and promote fashion trends
                                                                                        • Figure 11: Fashion affinity, by age, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                      • Young adults more likely to disseminate information about technology
                                                                                        • Figure 12: Technology/information, by age, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                    • Demographic Comparison of Teen Influentials

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • As teens mature, especially females, they tend to become more influential
                                                                                            • Figure 13: Technology/information—teens, by age and gender, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                          • The majority of girls aged 15-17 reported pro-WOM characteristics
                                                                                            • Figure 14: Social leadership—teens, by age and gender, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                            • Figure 15: Fashion affinity—teens, by age and gender, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                        • What Inspires Influentials?

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Price, quality and convenience among the most powerful drivers of WOM
                                                                                                • Figure 16: Basis of product or service recommendation to others, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Basis of product or service recommendation to others, by income, January 2009
                                                                                            • Who Responds to Influentials?

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Young adults more likely to be influenced by WOM
                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Source of word-of-mouth recommendation leading to purchase, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Source of word-of-mouth recommendation leading to purchase, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                • Time Spent on Internet

                                                                                                  • Time spent on the internet climbs along with home entertainment
                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Time spent other than email on the internet in the last seven days, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                • Media Channels that Generate Buzz

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Television is the medium most likely to inspire respondents to tell others
                                                                                                        • Figure 21: Offline advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Online advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                    • Interest in Online Tools that Can Generate Buzz

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Interest in most WOM ‘widgets’ is moderate or low within online population
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Interest in advertising/promotions (mean), by age, January 2009
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Interest in advertising/promotions (only 5 and 4 responses tabulated), top two box responses, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                          • Men more likely to enjoy widgets
                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Interest in advertising/promotions, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                        • Race and Ethnicity

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Asians and Hispanics somewhat more likely to act on WOM recommendations
                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Source of word-of-mouth recommendation leading to purchase, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                            • Minorities more likely to recommend products they have seen in advertisements
                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Offline advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Online advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                            • Hispanics and Asian respondents more likely to report wanting game-related promotions
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Interest in advertising/promotions (mean), by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                            • Black teens are often Influentials in the world of clothing fashion
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Fashion affinity—teens, by race/ethnicity, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                              • Influencers
                                                                                                                • Who they are
                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                    • Sharers
                                                                                                                      • Who they are
                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                          • Non-Conformists
                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Source of word-of-mouth recommendation leading to purchase, by word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Online advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Interest in advertising/promotions, by word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Attitudes indicating influencers, by word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Basis of product or service recommendation to others, by word of mouth clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Word of mouth clusters, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Word of mouth clusters, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Word of mouth clusters, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Word of mouth clusters, by race, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Word of mouth clusters, by Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                  • Affluent men and couples among the most influential
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Lifestyle segments with WOM leadership traits, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Additional Income Comparisons

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Online social media participation, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Technology/information, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Personal relationships, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Fashion affinity, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Advertising affinity, by income, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Time spent other than email on the internet in the last seven days, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Time spent (average) watching television in a week, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Online advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Offline advertising/recommendation media and word of mouth, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Interest in advertising/promotions (mean), by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Interest in advertising/promotions, by income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Additional Gender Comparisons

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Interest in advertising/promotions (mean), by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Advertising affinity, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Social leadership, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Technology/information, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Personal relationship, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Fashion affinity, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Online social media participation, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Source of word-of-mouth recommendation leading to purchase, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Time spent (average) watching television in a week, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Influence of word of mouth/advice from friends on vehicle purchase, by gender, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Additional Age Comparisons

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Time spent other than email on the internet in the last seven days, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Time spent (average) watching television in a week, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Influence of word of mouth/advice from friends on vehicle purchase, by age, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Additional Race and Ethnicity Comparisons

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Online social media participation, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Time spent other than email on the internet in the last seven days, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Time spent (average) watching television in a week, by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Attitudes indicating influencers (mean), by race/ethnicity, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Social leadership—teens, by race/ethnicity, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Technology/information—teens, by race/ethnicity, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Advertising affinity, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Social leadership, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Technology/information, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Personal relationship, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Fashion affinity, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Influence of word of mouth/advice from friends on vehicle purchase, by race/ethnicity, July 2007-September 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                    • Colgate-Palmolive Company
                                                                                                                                    • Dunkin' Brands
                                                                                                                                    • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                    • Federal Trade Commission
                                                                                                                                    • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                    • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                    • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                    • Red Bull North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                    • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                    • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                                                    • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                    • WOM
                                                                                                                                    • Word of Mouth Marketing Association
                                                                                                                                    • Yahoo! Inc
                                                                                                                                    • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                    Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing - US - April 2009

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