Dennis Armbruster
  Editor-At-Large, COLLOQUY

Do you find yourself increasingly taking to Twitter and Facebook these days to share views with family and friends about the products you use as a loyal customer of a brand?  What about Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or SnapChat? If you answered "yes," you’re part of a national trend.

Recent COLLOQUY survey research shows that 38 percent of Canadians say they’re using social media to discuss product and service likes and dislikes. That’s up from 28 percent when asked the same question in a 2011 study of consumers’ word-of-mouth (WOM) habits, representing a 36 percent jump.

Being a WOM Champion makes you a hot commodity.

A closer look

Next question: Are you tech savvy, well-connected, communicative and highly likely to recommend a product you like? If so, marketers have a name for you. You are a WOM Champion.

Being a WOM Champion makes you a hot commodity.

Brands that want to spread the digital word seek to engage WOM Champions in their loyalty programs via social media. They want to surprise and delight these champions, providing alerts about new loyalty reward options and even personalized deals. Brands go out of their way to treat these customers well and make them feel compelled to talk about their experiences.

Why? In an increasingly cluttered world of competing brand messaging, word of mouth plays a crucial role in consumers’ decision-making. In fact, 84 percent of respondents to a Nielsen survey of 58 countries identified word of mouth recommendations from family and friends as the most trustworthy source of information for decisions about products they buy. 

This research tells marketers that despite the growth in brand recommendations on social media, the actual number of WOM Champions in Canada has decreased from 31 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2013 among the general population.

In an increasingly cluttered world of competing brand messaging, word of mouth plays a crucial role in consumers’ decision-making.

Utilizing consumers

Fortunately, there are two pieces of good news for marketers in that same research. The best place to find WOM Champions is within the ranks of a brand’s loyalty program, and the number of young adults classified as WOM Champions in Canada has remained steady at about one-third of the population.

Young adults are in an enviable position. As a group, they are more open to interacting with brands via social media. In fact, the research shows that 74 percent of young adults in Canada think it’s appropriate for brands to interact with customers on social media versus just 55 percent of the general population.

Average Canadian smartphone user has downloaded 25 apps, but uses only five of them on a daily basis.

Speaking of hot commodities, consider that coveted piece of real estate known as your smartphone screen. LoyaltyOne research this year shows the average Canadian smartphone user has downloaded 25 apps, but uses only five of them on a daily basis. That means an app has a mere 20 percent chance of landing and remaining on a consumer’s screen.

Consumers who were surveyed said what they want most from apps are entertainment, ways to stretch spending power, and tools to make life easier.

As owners of this prized on-screen real estate, consumers have the right to expect brands to use apps as more than just a channel to push out content. They should demand apps that offer relevant information, promotions and tools that solve consumer needs. Those are the apps that will pass the ultimate test of stickiness.


editorial@mediaplanet.com