Despite the popularity of online marketing, consumer buying behavior is more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth conversations between people sharing strong social ties than by any other form of communication. That’s the conclusion of new research conducted by three marketing professors: Andrew Baker of the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University (SDSU), and Naveen Donthu and V. Kumar of the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
“Even with the billions of dollars spent each month on online advertising, blogging, and other internet messaging, direct conversation has the greatest impact on influencing intentions to purchase a particular brand,” says Baker.“ A lot of social media marketing today tends to emphasize triggering online brand conversations between people who may not be closely connected. Our results underscore that marketers shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of real-world conversations because, ultimately, people focus more closely on specific brands when the dialogue is offline.”
“Investigating How Word-of-Mouth Conversations About Brands Influence Purchase and Retransmission Intentions” was published in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research.