Research released today by referral marketing platform Mention Me, reveals that British shoppers are now less inclined to trust messages that are delivered via traditional advertising channels.
Instead, they prefer to discover new products themselves; favouring self-discovery via channels such as a friend’s recommendation, browsing in store or an online search engine.
The study was commissioned by refer-a-friend marketing platform Mention Me, into trust marketing and the impact of decreasing trust in social and traditional media channels.
The research reveals that customer initiated discovery (a friend’s recommendation, online reviews, social media platform, search engines, review sites, bloggers and influencers) trumps more traditional push forms of advertising (banner ads online, direct mail, outside billboard, Email, TV, Newspaper/PR). When asked which methods they preferred to discover a product, 71% of all respondents chose self discovery, compared with just 29% choosing push advertising platforms.
This is consistent across sectors:
- Beauty: 75% pull vs 25% push
- Travel: 73% pull vs 27% push
- Fashion: 74% pull vs 26% push
- Smart Home Technology: 70% pull vs 30% push
- Energy: 69% pull vs 31% push
- Finance & Banking: 67% pull vs 33% push
The research also revealed that despite reports of the demise of the high street, when it comes to fashion and beauty people still appreciate the tangible experience of in-store above all other channels. For respondents, in-store is 60% more popular for fashion shoppers when discovering a new product than the next best discovery channel. And 37% more popular for beauty shoppers.
An endorsement is a valuable tool to spark discovery. The research suggests that products that have been endorsed get an added boost, with the trust in the brand increasing alongside the recommendation. This transfer of trust phenomenon happens as friends implicitly understand two psychological filters which are applied during a recommendation.
The first is a reputational filter; this works because both parties in a referral know the reputation of the recommender is at stake. This means that the person being introduced can trust the recommendation.
The second is a relevance filter; a person making a recommendation will only share brands that are relevant to the person being introduced. Again, both parties implicitly understand this. A message delivered in this way is the holy grail of marketing – delivered using the right channel, with the right message and at the right time. Instead of taking multiple advertising touchpoints, a referral can build the trust required to move a prospective customer through to purchase in an accelerated time frame.
However, not all recommendations are equal, bought endorsements, like those made by bloggers and YouTubers languish at the bottom of the list for sources of brand discovery. Despite increasing spend by marketers, these influencers are preferred by fewer than 3% of respondents across sectors.
Andy Cockburn, CEO of Mention Me, says: “Trust is an increasingly important theme across all elements of society and marketing is no different. Trust marketing is about thinking how brands manage the most valuable currency they have with their customers. It’s not surprising that consumers now have a preference to discover new products from the sources they trust most, particularly personal recommendations. Running a referral programme offers brands a systematic and positive way to activate trusted pull marketing to better engage both existing and new customers in product discovery.”
Courtney Wylie, vice-president of product and marketing at Mention Me