Word of Mouth as a Vocation

Do affluent women spend most of their waking hours talking about brands? So one might infer from a newly released study by The New York Times Customer Insight and Advertising Groups about “word of mouth” by women in households with income of at least $100,000. Based on polling fielded in April and May, the report classified 38 percent of these women as “marketing multipliers,” which means they’re especially apt to spread the word about products and services they like or dislike.

One part of the survey asked respondents to say whether they’d take certain actions to spread the word about a product or service they liked. Ninety-two percent of the multipliers (as well as 79 percent of “average affluent women”) said they’ve mentioned it in conversation. Fifty-seven percent of multipliers (and 29 percent of average affluents) have called other people to tell them about it; 54 percent of multipliers (and 30 percent of average affluents) have forwarded an e-mail link to others; 48 percent of multipliers (and 26 percent of average affluents) have rated the product online.

As these numbers indicate, even the non-multipliers are likely to engage in word-of-mouthing about stuff they like. A key difference is that the multipliers share their views with more people. When it comes to fashion, for instance, multipliers make recommendations to an average of 10 people, while other affluent women tell two people.

Since the multipliers relish the sense of being fonts of wisdom on what to buy, they’re receptive to ads that “teach me something new,” with 60 percent saying this is a trait they appreciate in ads. Similarly, 68 percent said ” ‘appeals to my intellect’ is a quality that’s extremely important in online ads.”