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Purchasers 50% more likely to be influenced by word of mouth than ads & expert opinion

September 27, 2005

Based on the number of lawyer ads we see, you would think it just the opposite, but a recent study co-authored by Intelliseek and Forrester found word-of-mouth behavior among ‘familiars’ trumps all forms of advertising and is more trusted than news or ‘expert commentary. Consumers are 50 percent more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations from their peers than by radio/TV ads — a slightly higher level of influence/trust than found in the 2004.

Those who blow off ads are the true influencers of others and this word of mouth influencing is taking place on the Internet – on blogs.

Intelliseek’s research also finds important correlations between consumers who regularly skip over or delete television or online ads and those who shape, create, and absorb consumer-generated media (defined as experiences, opinions and advice posted on the Internet by consumers for others to read and share). ‘Active ad skippers,’ for example, are 25 percent more likely to create and respond to CGM on Internet message boards, forums and blogs.

Intelliseek CEO Mike Nazzaro during Advertising Week events this week in New York City warned, “The advertising landscape is changing, forcing marketers to broaden and redefine the concepts of media, influence and audience reach. If consumer-generated media is in fact the most effective and trusted form of advertising, it’s critical that marketers begin to measure, manage and influence it and, equally importantly, heed the consequences when consumers turn the message against brands.”

Ads, directories supported by so called expert reviews, ala Martindale-Hubbell, and the like are becoming less and less important. A cut back, not an elimination of funding for that type of marketing, needs to be considered. Influencing public opinion which is running rampant on the net must be addressed by law firms and other companies immediately. If not, you’re gonna be lapped by your competitors.