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E-fluentials wary of opinion sites

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday October 26, 2007 )

E-fluentials, savvy online shoppers who have great influence over their circles, are becoming increasingly suspicious of paid evangelists on consumer opion web sites according to a recent survey.

The study by WPP Group’s Burson-Marsteller of 1,000 US adults in July 2007 identified 150 in the survey group as e-fluentials. These people are far less likely to purchase a product if they feel a paid representative, posing as a consumer, has left biased comments about the product on a consumer website.

48% of e-fluentials state they believe there is this type of activity on opinion websites, a substantial increase from 39% in 2001. While e-fluentials welcome messages from companies, they want transparency.

While on the topic of e-fluentials and their ability to boost the profile of company; this talk given to the Google team by Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire, is well worth sitting through as an e-fluential theme permeates throughout the session – Seth’s also quite an entertaining speaker.

All Marketers are Liars” – Seth Godin speaks at Google:

Seth’s point is basically more about getting early adopters and thought leaders to do the hard yards of marketing for your business, rather than taking a shotgun approach to spreading the word. Impress them, and the world’s your oyster. Worked very nicely for Google.

Seth also offers these words of wisdom, which I feel are very much related to wooing e-fluentials:

“”And that’s what a lot of people miss about marketing and lying. Your story is worthless if it’s not authentic. Your story won’t spread if the facts don’t back it up.”

Other findings about e-fluentials from the study:

– 76% of e-fluentials seek out further information on online sources when they hit what they feel is paid evangelism posing as consumer reviews on opinion websites.

– E-fluentials spend around 21 hours online each week

– E-fluentials aren’t in it for the cash or kickbacks. 94% are most likely to share an experience about a product just for the sake of sharing the information. Many feel it’s an obligation for them to do so.

Read more of the Burson-Marsteller e-fluential research


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