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In the May 2006 “Marketing Matters” column, I wrote about understanding the power of G2G, focusing on women-to-women recommendations and how they’re gaining in importance for beauty marketers worldwide. The Benchmarking Company’s research showed that 64% of women recommended beauty brands to girlfriends on a regular basis, and 17% received beauty advice from their girlfriends. Thus far, 2007 research indicates that those numbers remain stable and reveals more about the reasons why women value G2G beauty brand recommendations and which avenues they’re using most to get the word out.
Recommendations that women give to one another are a key component of their individual definitions of brand loyalty. According to The Benchmarking Company’s 2007 Pink Report, Survival of the Prettiest: Face and Body Skin Care, “recommending a beauty brand to others” ranks in the top five definitions of what it means to be brand loyal. A woman’s passion for sharing her life experiences is emerging as a powerful force in shaping beauty product opinions and buying habits, and the global forum of the Internet is one means of broadcasting their strong voices.
Sister Helping Sister—The Internet as Unbiased and Trustworthy
A decade ago, if you were to tell a beauty brand marketer that blogs, social networks, message boards, and Internet retailing and beauty specialty sites were going to become important channels for women to gather, discuss and heed advice from one another on beauty purchases, you would have been met with a great deal of skepticism.
Today, findings from the 2007 Pink Report: Beauty and the Blog report:
• More than 27% of women have posted a comment about a beauty brand on a message board, social networking site or blog.
• 67% of women who participate in these sites are more likely to buy a beauty product if they read a good comment or review about it from their fellow consumers.
• When they participate in a blog or join a social networking site, 34% look to those sites for trusted advice when it comes to beauty buying.
• 50% of women ages 18–29 trust blogs, message boards and social networking sites as a main source for beauty advice.
• 54% of women feel they’ve made smarter buying decisions since they started visiting blogs, message boards and social networking sites.
• 59% of women feel they get unbiased information on consumer-oriented blogs and message boards that they can’t find anywhere else.