NEW YORK – Baby boomers, Generation X and Y and now credit unions can you identify your Influentials? A recent RoperASW book titled “The Influentials” suggests there is a new marketing channel out there called the Influentials, which is a powerful consumer segment driving word-of-mouth market interest. Based on 30 years of Roper Reports, this group consisting of only 10% of the population that is the most socially and politically active tells the other 90% where and how to spend their time and money. Today, over 90% of Americans cite word-of-mouth as one of the best sources of ideas and information. In fact, they rate word-of-mouth twice as important as advertising or editorial content and put one-and-a-half times more value on it today than they did 25 years ago. “Connecting to the Influentials is critical in today’s accelerated business environment,” said Ed Keller, CEO of RoperASW. “As the most active and outspoken members of our society with extensive networks of family, friends and associates they can make or break product or brand success.” Keller says as voracious consumers of leading edge information, Influentials are the initial adopters or non-adopters of new products or services well in advance of other segments of society. They have a history of setting trends: *By 1994, 49% of Influentials owned computers compared with 24 % of the general public; *By 1996, 33% had IRAs and 401ks compared to 20% of the general public; *By 2002, 47% had shopped online compared with only 23% of the general public. A recent Washington Post/RoperASW survey finds that 67% of Influentials either are asked for or forward advice and information about products and services. In addition, online Influentials who forward advice do so to an average of 5 to 20 individuals. “Opening a dialogue with these opinion leaders allows marketers to tap into consumer trends, gauge the success of marketing efforts and minimize the risks associated with product launches, branding initiatives and communications efforts,” said Keller.

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