Market To The "Talkers" For More Efficient Results

According to a new survey from Mediamark Research & Intelligence published by “The Center For Media Research” today, 11.5% of the U.S. adult population are the key influencers of other people when it comes to word-of-mouth communications regarding personal finance.
This segment of approximately 25.4 million adults, dubbed “Big Circle Influentials,” are at par with the national average age for adults, and have only 4% higher household income than the national average of $65,500, but they score well above the national average for key financial and wealth indicators.

According to the MRI study, Big Circle Influentials are:

33% more likely to own a home valued at $500,000 or more
157% more likely to have made 10 or more investment transactions in the last 12 months
109% more likely to own securities with a value of $150,000 or more
44% more likely to have sought financial planning and/or money management advice

Anne Marie Kelly, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at MRI, says “It’s vital for financial advertisers to be able to identify Big Circle Influentials because these thought leaders advise family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, as well as people they don’t necessarily know, through viral and social networks… targeting on demographics alone would not allow marketers to reach this key segment.”

So how do you reach these influencers? Blogs.

Influencers understand that they’re known and respected for their knowledge — so they are always looking for new and unique information that will buttress their standing. While they use the internet for research, they do not consider a company’s website to be the most accurate source of information on the products or services that company provides. Instead, they seek the opinion of others who have used the product or service. That, they know, is the “real” information.

So your blog should be a dialog between you and your customers. It should be accurate, and although some comments might not please you, your response to those negative comments is what’s critical.

You see, Influencers know that some people are impossible to please, and they expect a certain amount of negative press about a product in which they have interest. But along with a negative comment or two, they expect to see good comments. And that’s where the dialog comes in.

Encourage happy customers to post their experience to your blog — even reward them if necessary (don’t go overboard! It shouldn’t look like your buying their endorsement). And answer all negative comments in a way that will please somebody who is researching your company.

In the end, these Influencers will tell more than two people — they’ll tell dozens. And then those people will spread that information since it comes from their “reliable” source.

3 Comments

  1. mfd1
    December 29, 2008

    I can’t believe it’s only 11.5%. That’s crazy! It makes sense that they’re on blogs, too…good point about consumer perspective being more reliable than the company’s own website.

  2. Mary
    December 29, 2008

    I agree with this (although I am not a “Big Circle Influential”). I search for information through social networks more than official company websites. It is easier for me to believe customer reviews then it is for me to believe someone telling me that their product/service is great.

  3. May 8, 2009

    Gotta love the effort you put into this blog :)