Women Trust WOM On Restaurants, But Not Fashion
It may come as a shock to many marketers -- and some stand-up comics, too -- but it turns out women aren't all that mouthy. A new study from Harbinger, a firm in Toronto that specializes in marketing to women, finds that the way women use word-of-mouth varies sharply by product category, as well as by life stage.
But perhaps the biggest shock is that even the most techno-savvy would rather not learn or talk about products online: Women are still three times as likely to talk to friends and family as they are to go to their computers. And 92% say they prefer face-to-face communications over online research, Deborah Adams, Harbinger's SVP, tells Marketing Daily.
"That's not to say they're not spending a lot of time online, because they are. But the distinction is that while they go online to get information, they prefer to share it in the traditional way," she says.
Women do seek advice before shopping: Only 28% decide what to buy without looking for some kind of help.
Not surprisingly, she says, the bigger the price tag on a purchase or the more important personal experience is, the more actively women discuss it. And those categories involving strong personal tastes or lifestyle preferences are less likely to be a topic of conversation. For example, 71% of women actively talk about restaurants, while just 41% use WOM for fashion. Automobiles and entertainment are also high on the list of talked-about categories, while jewelry is low, at 30%.
But the biggest surprise, she says, is how strongly life stages predicted the way women used word of mouth. "For example, 26% of the category we call 'Me to We'-- women who have recently entered a stable relationship -- are likely to post their thoughts about a product online," she says, "while just 4% of 'Career Graduates' -- women over 50 whose kids are grown and aren't working -- are likely to do so," she says.
"Their attitude is 'Been there, done that' -- they don't feel this urge to share their thoughts with strangers. Compared to empty-nesters, new moms are very enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts. They are really motivated to help."