Most brands are investing the biggest portion of their budget into social media, despite it being the channel least trusted by 30% of consumers, according to a survey conducted by Mention Me and OnePoll. At the same time, referral – the most trusted source of advertising – is being overlooked by 96% of brands.
The Customer Advocacy Gap report, which surveyed 2,000 consumers and 500 senior marketers in the UK, found there is a disconnect between the channels that consumers trust and the ones that marketers are actually investing in.
59% of consumers have recommended at least one brand in the past month, rising to 89% over all time. Despite this, and 96% of marketers considering referral an important marketing channel, just 4% of them are investing the biggest portion of their budget into the channel.
The most likely group to refer brands are millennials, with 95% of 25 to 34-year-olds having done so before. On the other hand, amongst Gen Z respondents, 42% have recommend brands in the past month, while 21% never have.
“Our report highlights a stark disconnect between what consumers want and what marketers think they want. This has led to a clear mismatch between the marketing channels brands are investing in, and those most effective for driving long-term growth,” said Andy Cockburn, CEO and Co-founder of Mention Me.
“The businesses that look beyond short-term tactics like paid social and search, and adopt an advocacy-first mindset will be the ones to win in the post-pandemic world of ecommerce. That means identifying their best customers, treating them well, and driving their brand fans to introduce new customers. As third-party data rapidly disappears and previously relied-upon channels fall short, thinking advocacy-first has never been so critical to business survival.”
The research also found that price and product quality are the biggest influences on purchases and recommendations, though brands don’t entirely realise this. Consumers and marketers both cited product quality as the top consideration, but 32% saw it as the most important versus 26% of marketers who predicted that would be the case. For price, the gap was wider at 22% versus 12%.
Moreover, only 8% of consumers see the experience as their biggest consideration when buying from or recommending brands, while 21% of marketers believe this is the most important factor.