Spouses Have Most Influence on Customer Decisions

gallup-brand-source-sep-2011.JPGIn findings that probably won’t shock anyone who is married, September 2011 data from the Gallup Management Journal shows that spouses have the most influence on customer decisions. Close to 50% of internet-proficient adults said they are likely to rely on their spouse when deciding which companies, products, brands and services to use.

Respondents were close to five times as likely to say they rely on spouses as on any other source of influence. Slightly more than 10% of respondents said they rely on children, parents, friends and experts. Interestingly, hardly any respondents cited a company-sponsored Twitter page or a Facebook page as a source of influence on using companies, products, brands and services.

Engaged Customers Give “Passes”

Gallup analysis indicates customers are more likely to give a brand a “pass” when they have something negative to say, particularly if they are highly engaged. About three-fourths (74%) of fully engaged customers had positive social engagement (engaging their social networks in a complimentary way) and no negative social engagement (engaging in a derogatory way) about a brand, product, or service.

In contrast, only 1% of actively disengaged customers had positive social engagement with a brand, product, or service, while 14% had negative social engagement. Customers are more predisposed to be positive about an organization and more willing to work on its behalf with their social networks than are prospects, who are less engaged with an organization.

Social Networking Must Cross Channels

Gallup defines social networking is the act of engaging a social network, while social media comprises the channels through which people network. Gallup data shows that digital-only social media initiatives leave many prospects and customers untapped. Analysis suggests that the most frequent type of social networking is still analog, namely face-to-face or over the phone. This holds true among all types of social networkers, even younger social networkers.

Thus Gallup advises that social engagement can and must be measured and managed across all channels, online and offline.

Social Networkers Have Unique Reasons

Gallup research shows that social networkers have different intrinsic reasons why and how they use their networks. They won’t change those to fit an organization, so brands are advised to understand these differences and align their initiatives to them.

Nielsen: Personal Recommendations Most Influence Women

Despite high rates of technology penetration among women in both developed and emerging global markets, recommendations from people they know are the most trusted source of information for women, according to a June 2011 study from The Nielsen Company. Data from “Women of Tomorrow” indicates 73% of women in developed countries and 82% of women in emerging countries trust this type of recommendation.

In contrast, only 6% of women in developed countries and 16% of women in emerging countries say they are highly influenced by web ads with social context shown on social media sites.

About the Data: Results are based on a Gallup Panel study consisting of web surveys completed by 17,254 national adults, aged 18 and older. Respondents were deemed proficient internet users based on their ability to complete the survey via the web.