Word-of-mouth in marketing context
To choose a product, consumers often ask the advice of people around them. In seeking information, consumers must select the sources from whom to ask advice, that is to say, those people who are likely to have sufficient knowledge to provide credible recommendations.
What sources of advice?
Estimating knowledge source
Recognizing the benefits of seeking advice from strong ties, the consumer rationalizes the choice of this strategy by unconsciously overestimating his friends’ knowledge.
Advice from opinion leaders is sought, but their knowledge of products and brands tend to be overestimated by their entourage. But this is no longer true if opinion leaders correctly calibrate their own knowledge. In fact, only opinion leaders who overestimate their personal knowledge risk misleading other people.
These errors of interpersonal judgment decrease if the source correctly assesses his own knowledge and they increase in the opposite case.
Another major finding of this research is the difficulty, if not the inability, of opinion seekers to identify sources capable of providing them with information with high added value. Counter-intuitively, experts provide a fund of knowledge that remains largely untapped by consumers looking for word-of-mouth information.
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