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Advocacy - the ultimate form of marketing, finds out ZenithOptimedia research

Advocacy - the ultimate form of marketing, finds out ZenithOptimedia research

Author | Nitin Sharma | Wednesday, Jul 30,2008 8:40 AM

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Advocacy - the ultimate form of marketing, finds out ZenithOptimedia research

In a complex world of changing consumer behaviour, media fragmentation, category upheaval, and shifting regulations, it has become more and more difficult for advertisers to understand where to place their marketing investment for best possible returns. ZenithOptimedia’s Touchpoints ROI Tracker research aimed to seek some answers and the findings were discussed at a seminar on ‘Advocacy’ in Mumbai on July 29.

A panel comprising eminent marketing personalities like Steve King, Paul Marsden, Shailesh Rao, Frank Harrison and Suresh Ramanathan discussed and shared their views on the importance of building a positive word of mouth for different categories across the world at the seminar.

Steve King, CEO, ZenithOptimedia Worldwide, was the first one to give his global and Indian views. He said, “At ZenithOptimedia, we believe in a single-minded proposition to deliver a better return on our clients’ media investment than that achieved by any of their competitors. In recent years, we have deployed a number of tools and systems to help us do this, but the jewel on our crown is undeniably Touchpoints ROI Trackers. The more personal, interactive, and experiential a consumer’s contact is with the brand, the greater its influence on the consumer’s decision to buy the brand. This is a key finding from ZenithOptimedia’s Touchpoints ROI Tracker research, across 130 different product categories in 35 countries, comprising over 330,000 consumer interviews in total.”

Giving an insight on how the same works in India, he said, “ZenithOptimedia conducted a research in four metros in 12 categories, covering 100 brands, to assess the role Advocacy plays in brand preference across different categories.”

Sharing his views on ‘Personal Communication, the most important touch point’, Frank Harrison, Strategic Resource Director, ZenithOptimedia Worldwide, said, “ZenithOptimedia has been conducting the research for six years now, and the same has been funded by its clients, because of which on a global phase we could cover 332 projects, 334,080 interviews, 4,620 brands, 35 countries, 78 clients, and 131 categories. In developing markets, which include, China and India, the research covered 51 projects, 38,330 interviews, 688 brands, eight countries, 18 clients and 27 categories.”

He further said, “On the basis of the research, advice and recommendation held the first position influencing the person’s buying decision. On the global front, people were most influenced by TV, followed by Internet, magazine advertising, newspaper ads, outdoor advertising, radio advertising, and Internet banners, In Asia, people are most influenced by TV ads, followed by magazine ads, news paper ads, Internet search, outdoor advertising, Internet banners and radio advertising.”

Sharing with the audience on ‘The Impact of Advocacy on Business’, Dr Paul Marsden, social psychologist and market researcher specialising in word-of-mouth influence, said, “Personal recommendations are rated number one when it comes to influencing purchase decision across B2B and B2C sectors. In order to drive the recommendations, one needs to beat the ‘expectation’ as brand efficacy works like a stock market.”

Speaking on findings of the ‘Advocacy Research’, Suresh Ramanathan, Associate Professor, GSB Chicago, said, “Advocacy research adapts experimental paradigms in exploring consumer perception, feelings and motivation in driving consumer behaviour.

Consumers often make purchase decision based on their feelings towards the products, and their motivation to acquire or consume it. These feelings and motivations reflect not just the preferences a person has for a product or the benefits that he/she seeks, but also the efforts that the person expends on the process and the level of enjoyment derived from it.”

Ramanathan further examined how emotions and motivations change over the duration of a product or ad experience by showcasing the loyalty chart from Reichheld Frederick’s research. He added, “Dynamic effects is a phenomena observed in a number of domains related to both individual and shared consumption, for example, self-controlled dilemmas, processing on the dynamic effects in Advocacy Research.”

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion, which had two other key persons – Partha Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis- South & Southeast Asia, and Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, Google India – joining the panel.

As for the audience query on how to make brands/ products more visible and popular among the TG and capture the market share from competitors, all the panelists had one mantra – ‘Advocacy is the key to a brand’s success’.

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