|What makes people recommend a brand to others?
Word-of-mouth marketing is often held up as the most effective marketing technique of all. But what specific factors actually encourage a person to recommend a brand to somebody else? And whose opinions do people value the most?
Friends and family most influential
According to a survey by Mention Me, 36% of people would be put off referring a brand by negative coverage in the press or on social media. However, the study showed that 41% would be deterred if they’d been told not to shop somewhere by a friend or family member. Interestingly, while 50% said they would trust the views of a friend, only 46% would value the opinion of their partner or spouse.
Consumers getting disenchanted with influencer marketing
The fact people attach so much value to the views of people they know could explain another significant finding of the study. Just 3% of respondents said they would trust a recommendation from a celebrity. Similarly, only 5% valued the view of a blogger or YouTube influencer. Trust in these personalities was found to vary a great deal across different age groups, with just 5% of over-45s saying they trusted a referral from a celebrity or online influencer, compared with 37% of under-34s. This suggests influencer marketing might not be the best approach for brands that are targeting largely older demographics and far more effective for younger audiences.
Credibility and trustworthiness highly regarded
This recent study also looked into what specific qualities a brand needs to display if it is to get a referral from people. Having good quality products was, perhaps unsurprisingly, important for 73% of people, while 59% were influenced by good customer service. However, the survey suggests these are the minimum requirements for brands if they want customers to recommend them to friends and family. Indeed, more than three-quarters of respondents said they’d only refer a brand if they considered it trustworthy and credible. Meanwhile, 1 in 4 said a brand’s charitable status is very important to them, and almost a third would be swayed by its environmental credentials. Shared values also resonate with customers, with 35% saying they would refer a brand that holds a similar ethos to them. In addition, 21% are happy to recommend brands if they feel they are innovative and creative.
The sense that people are getting good value for money was also very important in driving referrals. Some 53% of respondents said they’d recommend a brand if it offers money off future orders, while 11% value free delivery. A free gift can also be a tempting proposition, with 1 in 10 saying receiving freebies would encourage them to talk up a brand.
Andy Cockburn, Chief Executive of Mention Me, stressed that brands must ‘really focus on understanding what drives and inspires their customers to want to share and refer experiences – and that it’s not all just about offering the biggest discount.’
This is particularly true when it comes to rewarding customers with gifts; for tech-lovers you could consider giving them a power bank or speaker, whilst travel mugs would be ideal for commuters, if you’re targeting children or families a puzzle or teddy bear could be appropriate.
By understanding individual customers’ tastes, preferences and motivations, brands will be far more able to pick a gift that is genuinely appreciated by the person receiving it. That in turn could make them far more likely to recommend a brand to others in the future.
Again, a difference in attitudes was found across different age groups, with 36% of under-34s regarding a free gift as important, compared with just 12% of over-45s. That again underlines the importance of offering a reward or incentive to customers that they will actually find useful and worthwhile. After all, it could help them see your brand in the same way and encourage them to talk you up to others.
Sources / Further Reading
Influencer marketing: What motivates customer advocacy? Netimperative