No matter how many online social media exist: people still mainly talk to each other about products, companies and experiences in ‘real-life’ in person contacts.
This does not mean that opinions on social networks, online peer reviews, blogs and all the other only digital media where people can get informed by influencers have no impact.
But still: word of mouth is and remains primarily an offline matter.
Moreover, the opinions of ‘offline’ friends, relatives and acquaintances have a more significant impact on what we buy than the recommendations of ‘online’ friends.
In case you might doubt this, I would like to refer you to a very interesting chart on page 14 of the Fluent report by communication agency Razorfish.
The graph, that you can see below, shows the role of ‘influencers’ in the marketing funnel, and it clearly demonstrates the crucial impact of close family and friends.
In the ‘action phase’, the most important phase for a company of course, 79% of respondents said that family and friends have a ‘heavy influence’, much more than anonymous peer reviews and independent bloggers, to name just a few other influencers.
Should we then just throw away online WOM (word of mouth), which is a crucial aspect of social media marketing? Of course not. The reasons are in the same chart but also elsewhere in the report.
If you would like to read the report just click here, and you can consult it online in a handy Flash application or download it by clicking on the PDF logo on top of the page.