The recession redefined many things during the past two years, and that included how we go to market. As with other downturns, print advertising spending was dramatically curtailed, as were investments in trade shows and some of the other more costly marketing programs.
Would spending in those areas return? Many were prepared to yet again write off traditional marketing channels as no longer relevant, that they would not return to be valued by customers in how they learn about products. Yet Goldstein Group research across a variety of clients are beginning to show that customers are relying on both digital and face-to-face methods of communication – particularly word of mouth and trade shows – as important elements of the buying process.
Even further, segmenting the data by age group is showing remarkably little difference in how customers find information about new products – and in what information sources they define as “most credible.”
One interesting side note is that social media appears at the bottom for every client survey we’ve done to date for “most credible” information channels. But there’s an interesting nugget in the data: for a small group, about 7% of respondents, they’re identifying social media as their single most credible method of learning about new companies and products. It’s a channel that clearly is in the early adopter stage, but one that marketers clearly shouldn’t neglect.