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How Damaging Is Negative Word Of Mouth?

2577 words - 10 pages

Abstract
The purpose of the study was to validate the implications of Word of Mouth in Pakistani cultural setup. This study replicates a previous study by Charlett, D., Garland, R. and Marr, N. (1995) testing the two hypotheses “that both positive and negative WOM will affect consumers' probability of purchase and attitudes towards a product” and “that negative WOM will have a stronger effect than positive WOM on consumers' probability of purchase and attitudes towards a product”. Data was collected from a convenience sample of university students divided into three groups, two of which were exposed to positive and negative WOM respectively and third taken as the control group. Results of data analysis supported both the hypotheses, contrary to the findings of previous study for the second hypothesis. A number of variables, including the small sample and variations in realistic cultural settings, however, impose limitations on the study that can be removed through future studies. The research supports the significance of WOM and stronger effect of negative WOM in Pakistani cultural setup and impresses upon the value of WOM for any marketable product.

Keywords: Word of Mouth, Purchase Probabilities, Customer Satisfaction, Attitude Measurement.

1. Introduction

Call it advice, suggestion, consultation or gossip and even grapevine the importance of opinion passed on as word of mouth has never diminished since the history of human society. Whatever the promotional effort or how convincing the advertising message devised, almost everything gets debated amongst people and either gets a nod of approval and thus the legitimacy for adoption or fades away like many other ideas in the pages of history. Therefore, it is natural for a marketer to be interested in the word of mouth sooner or later. Lately, word of mouth has become the buzz word of the marketing circles in the western hemisphere. Great efforts are being made to utilize it affectively for the promotion aspects. Many innovative ideas are being to put to use to find ways of extracting a solely positive impact of word of mouth for it has always been a double-edged sword. An Urdu idiom bad achcha badnam bura expresses this concept very accurately.
Kotler and Keller (2006) cite a study by Burson-Marsteller and Roper Starch Worldwide found that one influential person's word of mouth tends to affect the buying attitudes of two other people, on average. That circle of influence, however, jumps to eight online. There is considerable consumer-to-consumer communication on the Web on a whole range of subjects. Online visitors increasingly create product information, not just consume it. They join Internet interest groups to share information, so that word of Web is joining word of mouth as an important buying influence. Words about good companies travel fast; words about bad companies travel even faster.
The study of word of mouth has gained a lot of momentum in recent times; there is Word of...

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