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Word-of-mouth most powerful selling tool in India: Nielsen global survey

09-October-2007
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Word-of-mouth most powerful selling tool in India: Nielsen global survey

According to a recent global Nielsen Internet survey, 87 per cent of Internet-accessing Indians still trust recommendations from others, thus making word-of-mouth advertising the most powerful tool in the industry today.

India comes fourth among the top 10 countries globally that trusts in recommendations from consumers, with Hong Kong leading the list with 93 per cent. Seven of the top 10 markets that rely most on ‘recommendations from consumers’ are in Asia.

Considering the other mediums of advertising, it was found that newspapers came in second on the list of advertising media that Indian consumers trust the most, with 77 per cent. Surprisingly, consumer opinions posted online and brand websites came a little ahead of television advertising, with 73 and 72 per cent respectively. Television came in at number five, with 65 per cent Indian respondents considering television advertising trustworthy.

According to Sarang Panchal, Executive Director-Client Solutions, The Nielsen Company, said, “As a consumer, one is exposed to advertising through various media. But what touches one’s chord is either a very innovative message or a product, which is good value for money. Word-of-mouth brings with it a big ‘trust’ factor, which is quite often missing in other forms of advertising. Indians, by nature, tend to believe a friend or an associate while evaluating a product.”

The Nielsen survey found that new platforms like the Internet are beginning to slowly catch up with conventional media, in terms of advertising revenues. Though the overall reach of Internet in India is yet to be widespread, consumer opinions posted online and brand websites still make it to the list of top 10 countries, at third and sixth positions respectively, which prove the trust-factor in these unconventional forms of advertising. On the other hand, global consumer opinions posted online make it to the third most-trusted advertising form with 61 per cent.

“This result clearly shows that Indians are not averse to new forms of advertising, and this is a welcome sign for marketers to explore different advertising opportunities, which are very cost effective too. Blogs and social networking sites are becoming a major tool in the Western world to generate consumer opinion, especially regarding new product launches. Though in a nascent state and popular with only certain sections of the society, these have the potential to become an interesting advertising avenue for marketers,” added Panchal.

With 71 per cent in India, magazines made it to the fifth slot as a medium that can be trusted. According to the survey, India is also the ninth country among the top 10 countries that trusts magazine advertising.

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