Face-to-Face Tops Social As W-O-M Vehicle

August 13, 2015

CrowdTwist-W-O-M-Vehicles-Gen-X-Millennials-Aug2015Both Millennials and Gen Xers say they’re more likely to spread the word about their favorite brands and products face-to-face than via social media, according to results from a CrowdTwist study [download page]. Beyond those two leading word-of-mouth vehicles, though, email proves more popular among Gen Xers while texting is more apt to be used by Millennials.

The results are from a survey of 1,208 North American consumers ages 18-69, from which subsets of 403 Gen X consumers (born between 1965 and 1980) and 402 Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) were examined in separately-released reports. (The report examining Boomers has yet to be released; presumably, face-to-face will also be a more popular W-O-M vehicle than social media among this group of respondents.)

The results are supported by research released last year by the Keller Fay Group (recently acquired by Engagement Labs). In that study, 84% of Millennials’ word-of-mouth impressions about brands were found to take place offline. Some 71% were the result of face-to-face conversations versus just 3% over social media.

Driving word-of-mouth is extremely important for marketers. In a recently-released MarketingCharts study, recommendations from friends and family topped all other identified marketing and advertising channels in purchase influence among Millennials (18-34) and Gen Xers (35-49). Interestingly, though, direct mail led word-of-mouth as a purchase driver among both Boomers (50-68) and Silents (69+), supporting previous research that indicated that word-of-mouth is a bigger influence among Millennials than Boomers.

Returning to the CrowdTwist survey, Millennials (50.5%) and Gen Xers (49.6%) were equally as likely to say they are extremely loyal or quite loyal to their favorite brands. Of these two sets of respondents, though, Millennials appear to be the group more likely to switch brands.

With consumers increasingly modifying their shopping habits due to loyalty programs, preventing churn is paramount for those marketers using a loyalty or reward program. For both cohorts, the top reasons given for abandoning a loyalty program were:

  • The rewards not being compelling or relevant;
  • Being tired of waiting for points to accumulate; and
  • Not having enough ways to earn points.

When it comes to earning those points through non-purchase activities, answering a survey is easily the favorite method for Gen Xers (78.2%) and Millennials (74.4%). Of note, among the various activities listed, checking-in at a location ranked higher for Gen Xers than Millennials, while the opposite was true for watching videos.

Finally, discounts/coupons and cash back/credit were the most important benefits (in that order) for both generations. While brand experiences ranked as one of the less important benefits, these were cited by significantly more Millennials (11%) than Gen Xers (1.7%). That’s a notable result in light of research last year from Loyalty One suggesting that hands-on experiences, as loyalty rewards, are enticing to Millennials.

About the Data: The 2015 CrowdTwist Loyalty Program Report study was conducted in June 2015 among 1,205 North American consumers ages 18-69.

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