The Age of Social Influence

Topics: Brand, Advertising, Brand management Pages: 16 (3998 words) Published: August 23, 2013
THE AGE OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE
HOW MEDIA-EMPOWERED CONSUMERS ARE HELPING TO DRIVE SALES

Methodology
This project was part of Initiative’s Consumer Connections global research program which now spans in excess of 50 countries. Our study’s sample was designed to identify those actively engaged in social media. As a result we conducted 8014 online interviews with consumers aged 18-54. Interlocking age/gender and regional quotas were set to reflect the national population in each country, the only exceptions being China where the focus was on Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and Canada where the Nunavut, NWT, Yukon regions were excluded. We used complex factor analysis to identify drivers of social behavior. This enabled us to quantify consumers’ social influence and identify those who are leveraging their superior social connections to influence purchase decisions.

THE AGE OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE

The importance of social media has been discussed at length for several years now. We know that in many markets time spent online has surpassed that of TV and that daily social media usage is continuing to increase. We know that the once linear and transaction-centric purchase funnel is now multi-directional, random and heavily influenced by opinion and information gathered by consumers. And we know that because of social media and technology, consumers can now enter the purchase cycle at various points, and spontaneously influence others as they travel along the path the purchase. But do we really understand how marketers can unlock the real value of all this? Do we know how social media works with other more established media? And do we know how to harness the power of social media for real commercial gain? In order to find answers to some of these crucial questions, Initiative set out to explore the individual and combined strength of TV, social and mobile, and how consumer interaction with each has altered the path to purchase. Specifically, we wanted to investigate: • Howdoweproducegreatersynergybetweenoursiloed media,socialandmobilebudgetsandtacticsthatresultina greaterreturnoninvestment? • Whataretheimpactofsocial,TVandmobileonshopper decision-making? • Whatroledoesconsumerinfluenceplayalongthepathto purchase? To do so, we conducted a global online study among 8014 web users aged 16-54 across eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK. We also spoke one-on-one with a group of super influencers in the US and the UK to gain a better understanding of social behavior.

MEdIA SyNErGy ACCELErATES THE pUrCHASE prOCESS
For many years, forward-thinking marketers have called for greater integration between their online and offline touchpoints in the hope of creating a multiplier effect that drives greater reach and scale. However, our study found that while the integration of social, TV and mobile has indeed altered the way consumers make decisions about brands, it is not because of their ability to simply multiply brand messages. Increasingly, consumers are becoming the driving force powering what, when and where brand interactions occur. Based upon our findings, Initiative believes that by leveraging the consumer’s natural inclination to engage with media across multiple screens and social media, we can create a consumer-powered media synergy effect that is both non-linear and emotional - driving deeper engagement and trust. The result is an acceleration of the purchase process unobtainable by any of the three media independently. We have identified three strategies for marketers that use the combined power of social, mobile and TV to navigate through the complexity:

Three strategies for marketers

1

THE SOCIAL INFLUENCER

TAPPING INTO THE POWER SOURCE

2

SYNERGY

OPTIMIZING TOUCHPOINTS TO PRODUCE

3

‘POINT OF INFLUENCE’ CALL TO ACTION
INTO A

TRANSFORMING A

1

TAppING INTO THE pOwEr SOUrCE –...
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