Word-Of-Mouth Phenomenon Spreads Across The Globe According To Worldwide GfK Roper Consulting Study

WOMBAT CONFERENCE, SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2006 – GfK Roper Consulting today announced the results of its Global Word-of-Mouth Study, which found that consumers worldwide cite people as the most “trustworthy” source for purchase ideas and information.  In fact, 70% of consumers across the globe trust friends, family, or other people when searching for information or ideas on products to buy.  This study confirms that the United States is not the only country experiencing the word-of-mouth phenomenon. 

Interestingly, advertising ranks second as a trustworthy source globally, somewhat higher than in the U.S. (59% versus 55%, respectively).  Globally, editorial content follows advertising at 55% and online resources rank fourth at 18%.  By comparison, in the U.S., 81% cite people as a trusted source of information, followed by editorial content at 56%, advertising at 55% and online at 24%.

“We now know that people hold the power in the global marketplace,” says Hetty Fore, Vice President and Product Manager for GfK Roper Consulting.  “Accessing the word-of-mouth network is no longer optional…success will be dependent on using this channel wisely.”

The study validates the company’s focus on understanding both THE INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS®, the ten percent of the U.S. population who lead trends and drive word-of-mouth, as well as the Global INFLUENTIALSSM segment, recently identified in 30 countries across the world.

The company also recently developed the methodology for identifying a new group for word-of-mouth drivers—consumers in the Category INFLUENTIALSSM segment, defined as industry-specific dialogue leaders.  To date, the Automotive INFLUENTIALSSM segment, Fashion/Apparel INFLUENTIALSSM, segment, Food & Diet INFLUENTIALSSM segment, Investment INFLUENTIALSSM segment, Personal Health INFLUENTIALSSM segment and Technology INFLUENTIALSSM segment have been classified.

Consumers in the Investment INFLUENTIALSSM segment, for example, are particularly knowledgeable about investing or trading and are sought out by others for their opinions on investing/trading.   Eighty-six percent have recommended investment products over the past year, compared to 45% of THE INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS® and only 27% of the general public. In the auto space, 93% of the Automotive INFLUENTIALSSM segment has recommended cars in the past year, compared to 52% of THE INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS® and 42% of the general public.

“Utilized in tandem with syndicated segmentation tools, the Category INFLUENTIALSSM segment equips marketers with actionable and customizable information for their specific industry,” adds Fore.  “They are the critical predictive segment for marketers launching new products or announcing enhancements.”


To help meet marketers’ growing need to understand and harness the power of word-of-mouth, GfK Roper Consulting has put together an INFLUENTIALSSM Marketing team which includes:

  • Hetty L. Fore, Vice President and Product and Operations Manager for Roper Reports® U.S. and Roper Reports® Worldwide services of GfK Roper Consulting: Fore is responsible for product development of Roper Reports® Worldwide, Roper Reports® U.S., Roper Youth Report, Green Gauge® and other new product development in addition to overseeing operations for GfK Roper Consulting syndicated research in the U.S. and in
    30-plus other countries.
  • Diane Crispell, Executive Editor for Roper Reports® U.S. and Roper Reports® Worldwide services of GfK Roper Consulting: Crispell provides expertise in interpreting and presenting information about U.S. and global consumer and social trends for the syndicated division of the global market research company.
  • Nick Chiarelli, European Director, Consumer Trends for Roper Reports® U.S. and Roper Reports® Worldwide: Based out of the U.K., Chiarelli takes a lead role in client servicing and in the ongoing development of the analytic tools, specializing in global consumer trends and helping clients to turn these insights into business opportunities and competitive advantage.

“Our roots in understanding the INFLUENTIALSSM segment date back to the 1940s, when the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey hired one of our founders, Elmo Roper, to develop a model for identifying opinion leaders,” says Xiaoyan Zhao, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Research and Consulting, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media. “Since then, we have led the word-of-mouth dialogue by helping marketers understand who these influencers are, how they exercise influence and how they can be targeted.  We continue to have a dedicated team in place to help clients identify word-of-mouth leaders on a social, category or brand basis, both in the United States and across the globe.”

GfK Roper Consulting

With offices in the U.S. and U.K., GfK Roper Consulting isa division of The GfK Group. Offering over 30 years of syndicated research and analysis, GfK Roper Consulting is responsible for Roper Reports® U.S. and Roper Reports®Worldwide,the most up-to-the-minute view of the consumer marketplace in the U.S. and around the globe.

The GfK Group

With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, the GfK Group is among the top-five market research organizations in the world.  Its activities cover five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare.  In addition to 13 subsidiaries in Germany, the GfK Group has more than 130 subsidiaries and affiliatesin more than 70 countries.



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