Online from: 1988
|Title:||A multi-stage model of word-of-mouth influence through viral marketing|
|Author(s):||De Bruyn A, Lilien G L|
|Journal:||International Journal of Research in Marketing, Sep 2008, Volume: 25 Issue: 3 pp.151-163 (13 pages)|
|Keywords:||Consumer Behaviour, Decision Making, Internet|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|Reference:||38AF727 (Permanent URL)|
Design/methodology/approach - Casts the existing word-of-mouth (WOM) literature into a multi-stage framework, adapts Milgram's small world methodology and develops an Internet-based field study to empirically assess the influence of electronic referrals at different stages of consumers' decisions.
Findings - Tie strength only facilitates awareness, perceptual affinity triggers recipients' interest and demographically dissimilar ties are more influential than demographically similar ones across different stages of the decision-making process. Finds that the results are markedly richer than those from traditional, one-stage models as evidenced by the benchmark one-stage model, where demographic similarity was the only statistically-significant parameter.
Research limitations/implications - Questions prior findings using more aggregated models of social influence, collects independent variables without recipient participation, tests only those hypotheses relevant to the empirical context and has a limited range of variability. Recommends refining the instrument adapted to measure demographic similarity and replicating the study in parallel in different countries or over time.
Practical implications - While close relationships can be effective in capturing recipients' attention and creating awareness, reveals that they have no influence at later stages and suggests that not all social networks are equally effective for harnessing the potential of peer-to-peer referrals. Considers that networks of friends are more suited to the rapid and effective diffusion of peer-to-peer online referrals and that attempts to initiate viral marketing mechanisms in the absence of close relationships in a network may be ineffective.
Originality/value - Illustrates the valuable insights that can be gained from multi-stage models aiming to better understand the mechanisms of the influence of viral marketing.