Men and women discuss products, advocate them, and act on recommendations for very different reasons. Understanding and leveraging these motivators can mean the difference between a word of mouth campaign’s success or failure. That’s according to a recent study by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB), a leading provider of decision-based market research and consulting services for vertical industries. While viral advertising and buzz marketing gets people to talk, word of mouth advocacy produces a higher level of action – and men and women respond in very different ways,” said Judy Melanson, Travel and Hospitality Leader at CMB. “That has major implications for product marketers, who have recognized the value of word-of-mouth advocacy to help promote their products.”
In general, women advocate products because they are looking after the needs of family, ensuring their personal security, maintaining social contact with friends, or staying loyal to their heritage or religion. Men are more likely to advocate to influence and lead others, to indulge, or to give themselves status or importance. And if someone takes action based on their recommendation, men are motivated by control, knowledge and saving.
Consumers have ever-increasing options for both media and products – for example, one Ohio restaurant counted 112 restaurants within a 5-mile radius that had opened in the last 3 years. Intense media bombardment, estimated at more than 1000 messages per person per day, has led to a growing distrust of traditional advertising.
“Word of mouth advocacy can create a ‘virtual, unpaid sales force,’” said Melanson. “And that engine feeds itself. As advocates for products educate others, they adapt what they say to others’ needs, interests or situations, creating a snowball effect.”
“The key to a successful word-of-mouth strategy is to first understand what motivates people to advocate,” said Melanson. “Then you can really focus in on pressing those buttons.”