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In our second post on the Influence Toolkit, we discuss the Moments of Influence™ (MOI) research we conducted with Harris Interactive and USC’s School of Communications & Journalism.

MOI is a quantitative primary research methodology and, in this case, consisted of a benchmark survey among 511 gamers in late 2008. The objective of MOI was to help marketers choose the optimal mix of marketing communications channels across the three phases of the purchase decision-making process (Awareness, Evaluation and Purchase).

Key Findings

In creating an Influence Channel Index (analytics!) across the decision-making process, we discovered that advertising declines in rank importance the closer gamers got to actual purchase. Traditional PR channels, such as reviews, played a critical role in the Evaluation phase while digital channels, such as online demos, gained in ranking during the final Purchase phase.

More importantly, as it relates to influence, we found that word-of-mouth (WOM) had the most influence across all three phases of Awareness, Evaluation and Purchase. Critically, we separated out WOM into “friends” and “family” instead of combining them. As Solis and Sheldrake have been advocating, the research indicated that friends are significantly more influential than family and that WOM is more impactful versus other channels in the marketing mix.

In analyzing the data from the Moments of Influence research, we also created a segmentation (more analytics!) where we identified a sub-segment of the population that we call Influence Multipliers. Influence Multipliers are media hoovers and are hyper-connected in online and offline social networks. We suspect that Influence Multipliers score high on the “betweenness” concept that Stowe Boyd advocates: people who are connected to, or reside closely between, several discrete social networks. We believe Influence Multipliers act as conduits between various discrete groups of people thereby increasing their influence reach.

We’re currently in the process of creating communities of Influence Multipliers that we can ping for tactical and strategic research needs, nurture with relevant data and activate as brand advocates.

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