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People who influence others rely on company web sites for information about the company much more so than they rely on online magazines and opinion sites.
How important is a web site apart from its ability to sell product? Very, says a new report commissioned by public relations agency Burson-Marsteller and conducted by market researcher RoperASW.
“Company web sites are the most frequently trafficked online information source by e-fluentials, a powerful group of online influencers who affect millions of consumers` purchasing decisions,” the report stated. “Across a wide variety of sectors -- technology, retail, finance, pharmaceutical, and automotive -- company web sites (85%) were found to be more widely used than online magazines (62%) and opinion sites (55%) as sources of Internet-based information among e-fluentials who advise on companies and products. These findings constitute a wake-up call for companies to proactively manage their relations with online customers.”
"An e-fluential is the rock that starts the ripple," said Chet Burchett, president and CEO, Burson-Marsteller U.S.A. "Each one communicates with an average of 14 people, so word travels in ever-widening circles, growing exponentially with each successive wave. Our new research shows that an estimated 11 million e-fluentials reach 155 million U.S. adults with their messages. "
The reports states that on average, highly influential Internet user relate a positive experience to 11 people, but a negative experience to 17, a 55% difference.
These influential people are receptive to e-mail from companies they know, the study showed, indicating the role played by familiar brands in e-mail viral marketing campaigns. In fact, 90% say they have read unsolicited e-mail from people or web sites that they know.
Results are based on a random sample of 525 consumers identified as influential from a panel of 100,000 U.S. households.