Consumer word-of-mouth activity down since start of recession: Colloquy

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Consumers have cut back significantly on sharing opinions about companies, as well as their products and services, since the beginning of the “Great Recession,” according to research from Colloquy.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they have discussions with family members, friends and colleagues about the brands they use, down from 73% in 2008, according to the loyalty marketing consultancy.

The number of consumers who said they often recommend products and services to others also dropped substantially since 2008. Nearly six in 10 consumers (57%) said they do so, down from 75% nearly three years ago, according to Colloquy, a division of LoyaltyOne, a loyalty marketing and analytics company.

Consumers' individual financial situations also affect word of mouth. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers who see their own financial outlook brightening have conversations about products and services, compared with 55% of consumers who say their economic outlook is getting worse.

Colloquy also found that only 26% of consumers are more likely to participate in word of mouth after a negative experience with a product than a superior one.

Jim Sullivan, partner at Colloquy, said agency- and client-side marketers should “hunker down” with consumers.

“I believe there's a new era coming,” he said, adding that people will rely “more and more on friends and family” for opinions. Sullivan added that economic improvement should result in an improvement in positive word-of-mouth opinion sharing.

Colloquy surveyed 3,295 consumers in December 2010.

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