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Press Release: 96% of marketers overlook advertising channel most trusted by consumers

Sophia King
By Sophia King — May 25, 2022

Read time: 5 mins

New report reveals stark gap between senior marketers and their target audiences

 

  • Consumers vote for referral as most trusted advertising channel (40%), beating out TV adverts (31%) and influencers (1%)
  • Yet just 4% of senior marketers invest most in referral as a marketing channel, compared to 66% investing most in social media 
  • 89% of consumers recommend brands, with 59% having done so over the past month

Despite emerging as the most trusted source of advertising, 96% of brands continue to overlook referral as a marketing channel. Instead, they’re investing the biggest portion of their budget into social media, the channel least trusted by 30% of consumers.

That’s according to The Customer Advocacy Gap report launched today by referral engineering platform Mention Me, surveying 2,000 consumers and 500 senior marketers across industries in the UK. 

As well as a disconnect between the channels consumers trust and those marketers invest in, the report also highlights a gap between what marketers believe to be effective and where they’re putting their money.

Nine in ten consumers recommend brands

As 97% of marketers predict, consumers regularly recommend brands to friends and family. 59% have recommended at least one brand in the past month, rising to 89% over all-time. 

While the report highlights that brands recognise this opportunity to drive growth – 96% of senior marketers consider referral an important marketing channel – just 4% invest the biggest portion of the budget into referral. This suggests that many brands are yet to find an effective way to leverage customer advocacy, instead resorting to short-term tactics such as paid social and search.

Though consumers of all ages refer brands, millennials are most likely to do so, with just 5% of those aged 25 to 34 having never done so. Gen Z has the biggest diversity in behaviour when it comes to recommending brands; 42% have done so in the past month, while 21% never have. This highlights a valuable opportunity for brands to turn increasingly wealthy Gen Z customers into advocates and drive long-term revenue.

The research also found that consumer recommendations aren’t limited to a specific sector. Food and drink brands are most likely to be recommended (48%), followed by home and garden (34%), holidays and travel (32%) and beauty (26%).

Marketers overestimate the value of customer experience

Price and product quality are the biggest influences on purchases and recommendations, more so than brands realise. Though both consumers and marketers cited product quality as the top consideration, 32% of consumers consider it the most important, compared to 26% of marketers predicting this to be the case. This gap was even wider for price, at 22% and 12% respectively.

Meanwhile, just 8% of consumers cite the experience as their biggest consideration when buying from or recommending brands – contrasting with the 21% of marketers who believe it’s the most important factor driving their customers’ purchases and referrals.  

Andy Cockburn, CEO and Co-Founder of Mention Me said, “Our report highlights a stark disconnect between what consumers want and what marketers think they want. This has led to a clear mismatch between the marketing channels brands are investing in, and those most effective for driving long-term growth. 

“The businesses that look beyond short-term tactics like paid social and search, and adopt an advocacy-first mindset will be the ones to win in the post-pandemic world of ecommerce. That means identifying their best customers, treating them well, and driving their brand fans to introduce new customers. As third-party data rapidly disappears and previously relied-upon channels fall short, thinking advocacy-first has never been so critical to business survival.”

About the report 

Based on surveys conducted in collaboration with OnePoll, The Customer Advocacy Gap presents the disconnect between senior marketers and the consumers they’re trying to reach. 

About Mention Me

Mention Me empowers brands to harness the exponential power of fans through referral.

Since 2013, our unique Referral Engineering® approach has delivered more than 4.5m referrals totalling USD $1.5bn in revenue for 450 brands, including Charlotte Tilbury, Farfetch, Nutmeg, Pret a Manger and Puma.

We make brands think advocacy-first by turning referral into a strategic acquisition channel that enhances wider marketing activity and the customer experience. This vision is supported by our fast-growing partner network, which includes Emarsys, Ometria, Klaviyo and Trustpilot.

Backed by Octopus Ventures and Eight Roads, we’ve raised $32 million in funding since 2018.

About OnePoll

This online survey of 2000 UK adults (nationally representative) was commissioned by Mention Me and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society's code of conduct. Data was collected between 06.04.2022 - 11.04.2022. The survey was conducted online using panel members who are credited to participate in surveys.  This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR.  

This online survey of 500 Manager Level+ with decision making authority on Marketing was commissioned by Mention Me and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society's code of conduct. Data was collected between 06.04.2022 - 14.04.2022. Participants were targeted using screening questions in order to ensure the correct demographic was achieved. The survey was conducted online using panel members who are credited to participate in surveys. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR. 

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