Media Viewpoint: Finding the right Advocate
The writer is Asit Gupta, CEO of Advocacy
Word of mouth (WOM) recommendations from family and friends are the most trusted media according to Nielsen's 2011 Global Trust in Advertising study. This fact is not new and has been known for many years. TV is 6th most trusted and push digital channels like online video rank a lowly 15th on trust. While trust in paid media is declining costs are increasing. WOM offers a high trust and high impact alternative. However not all WOM is created equal. WOM marketing focused around viral videos, acquiring social media followers and paying KOLs to blog about the product, is hit and miss in nature and has low authenticity. The alternative is WOM marketing using real consumer advocates.
What's more, it can be done in a structured, sustained and measurable manner. Here are four things you need to know about WOM marketing using advocates.
High Reach: WOM campaigns using Advocates can deliver 35-40% reach, which is comparable to TV. Via 1000s of campaigns in US, UK and Australia, it has been established that 1 advocate suitably activated can result in conversations which reach up to 50-60 other people. This was proven recently in China via the globally awarded Dettol Advocates campaign. This campaign using 4000 moms in a Tier 2 city delivered a reach of 46% as measured by TNS tracker. This translates into 240,000 moms (out of a total moms universe of 520,000) and thus amplification per advocate of 60+.
High Impact: Advocates deliver massive increase in purchase and purchase Intent. While TV delivers awareness and consideration, a friend's advocacy adds a sharper purchase edge. Ask yourself: What will push a consumer to purchase after 3 exposures to a TVC - another exposure or a recommendation from a friend? . In campaigns done by Advocacy, purchase and purchase intent amongst those reached by friend's Advocacy has almost doubled vs those not receiving WOM. This has been supported by actual sales increase.
High efficiency: Advocates are up to 5-10 times more efficient compared to TV and promoter girls. In-store promoter girls pushing a message in the face of a wary consumer cost around $400-500/month. This is a commoditized media with no sustained way to have superiority over competition. In comparison, an Advocate talking naturally driven by her liking of the product costs 1/10th of that. Even compared to TV, Advocates are more efficient. A 2000 GRPs 30" TV campaign in China's top 20 cities costs around $10mn just in media cost, while an Advocate campaign delivering comparable message recall costs 1/4th of that. Factor in the greater depth and trust and it is obvious why this is such an efficient media.
Easily Measurable: Advocates WOM campaigns are easily measurable with clear ROI attribution. Because Advocate campaigns can be geographically contained we can easily measure the impact via a pre-post tracker in the campaign city vs control geography. Thus before committing significant budgets brand owners can re-assure themselves about the return on Investment. In campaigns done by Advocacy in China we have been able to clearly isolate impact of WOM campaign from other media and conclusively demonstrate high ROI via TNS tracking and shipments data.
WOM marketing using real consumer advocates may not be creatively cool and win awards at Cannes, but it delivers what counts - more consumers buying your product.