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Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force by Rob Fuggetta

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Chapter 10

Advocates Drive Auto Sales

Car makers spend billions on glitzy TV ads. But Brand Advocates' recommendations have far greater influence over car purchases than TV ads, print ads, billboards, or any other type of advertising. Seventy-one percent of online consumers trust their friends and family when making a car purchase decision, says one market research firm.

Among women car buyers, word of mouth is the second-rated information source (56 percent) while TV ads notched only 16 percent. Word of mouth is also the second highest purchase influencer at 62 percent. Women ranked TV ads eighth of the top ten purchase influencers at 36 percent while manufacturers' sites came in dead last at 34 percent, according to a survey by BlogHer, a media network and publisher for women. (“Put Her in the Driver's Seat: Social Tools Inform and Empower Women's Car-buying Process,” BlogHer, October 25, 2011). (See Figure 10.1.)

Figure 10.1 Top Influencers of Car Purchases among Women

Source: “Put Her in the Driver's Seat: Social Tools Inform and Empower Women's Car-Buying Process,” BlogHer, October 25, 2011.

10.1

“Word of mouth is more believable than traditional advertising,” Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing chief, said in an interview in The Economist. (“Ford Can Fiesta Again, Innovative Marketing Helped Ford's Recovery,” The Economist, October 28, 2010.)

Online ratings and reviews—an online ...

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