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April 7 , 2009

Top 5 reasons we blog, email, post about brands

Canadians are word-of-mouth champions

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is all the rage in modern marketing and Canadian consumers are WOM champions when it comes to promoting their favourite brands, according to the latest research from Colloquy, a Toronto-based provider of loyalty marketing publishing, education and research.

A WOM champion is a customer who is "actively recommending" a brand, in a conversation, an email, a Twitter posting or a Facebook wall message.

The survey, conducted in October 2008, was designed to explore the intersection of consumers who participate in reward programs and their WOM activity regarding brands, reward programs and specific product categories.

"The personal nature of the communication by a WOM champion adds credibility. And a champion's endorsement is highly valued by marketers because it cannot be bought, it must be earned," said Colloquy partner Kelly Hlavinka.

In a survey of more than 3,500 Canadians, the top five motivations for engaging in WOM activity regarding their preferred products, services and brands to people within their networks were as follows:

  1. To be the first to discover new items ............ 71%
  2. To get free product samples......................... 66%
  3. To get smart about products/services........... 66%
  4. To tell manufacturers what I think.............. 63%
  5. To share my opinion with others ................. 58%

"These research results will touch a nerve with every Canadian who relishes the chance to tout a restaurant, favourite hotel, car company or mobile phone service. We all like to compare ourselves to the guy down the street, in the next city or across the country, especially when it comes to something as personal as recommending an experience. It tells us something about ourselves," said Hlavinka. "As for marketers, these insights into the motives of why key customers talk - someone who will take time out of a busy day to recommend your product/service - are invaluable."

The study also highlighted a direct correlation between reward program activity and consumers' positive WOM endorsement activity. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Loyalty program members are 127% more likely to be WOM champions than the general  population
  • 31% of loyalty program members are self-described WOM champions
  • Only 15% of non-loyalty program members are self-described WOM champions
  • 68% of WOM champions in loyalty programs intend recommend a program sponsor's brand within a year
  • Actively participating loyalty program members are over three times more likely than non-active members, and over seven times more likely than non-members, to be WOM champions.

"This research shows that a company's loyalty marketing database is an under-utilized social network that marketers would do well to exploit in the pursuit of positive, profitable WOM activity," said Colloquy Editorial Director Rick Ferguson. "Marketers should locate the champions buried within their program memberships, find ways to encourage WOM activity and reward champions for positive WOM behaviour."

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