Who can you trust…in Marketing?

In the not so recent past, only the technologically elite could find all the information they needed about products and services to make an educated purchase decision.  The worldwide web/internet changed all that.  It truly was a paradigm shift in shopping.  No longer were you dependent upon printed “trusted” journals and magazines (like Consumer Reports) .  The internet gave you access to “expert” opinions from individuals, organizations such as JD Power and the all powerful customer comments/testimonials.

And now…social media has given us another paradigm shift.  It makes you the “expert.”  It gives you the ability to publish information about products, services and organizations…without going to through the rigors associated with professional journalism.  So while the lack of rigor is disconcerting, it does allow marketers to put a megaphone to their word-of-mouth marketing efforts in a way they have never had before.  The question is…does traditional word-of-mouth marketing work in a social media? 

So wondering how social media is changing the control consumers have in the purchases they make?  Here’s some data I found courtesy of eMarketer, The GlobalWebIndex “Annual Report 2011,” which includes data from Trendstream and Lightspeed Research.

  • The focus in social media is shifting from creation to distribution.
  • As social media penetration increases, so does the trust placed in the recommendations and referrals from social network contacts—nearly a 50% increase in their trust of social network contacts giving product recommendations, and a 21% increase for microblog contacts.   

And, I also found some great information from a study by Edelman’s Trust Barometer report for 2011

  • Trust in an expert/academic has increased—from 62% to 70% in 2010
  • Trust in a financial or industry analyst increased—from 49% to 53% in 2010
  • Trust in a “person like me” declined again—from 47% in 2009 to 43% in 2010
  • Trust in CEOs increased—from 31% in 2009 to 50% in 2010
  • Trust in government officials—from 29% in 2009 to 43% in 2010

Trust is key to product/service decisions.  With social media, the number of trusted sources has skyrocketed!  Remember to capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing in all avenues…including social media.

Happy Marketing!

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