INFLUENCE OF WORD-OF-MOUTH COMMUNICATION ON CONSUMERS’ CHOICE OF SELECTED PRODUCTS IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA
This study examined the influence of word-of-mouth communication on consumers’ choice of selected products in Nigeria. To this end, the study investigated the effect of word-of-mouth communication on consumer purchase behavior and into factors that induce it and to see if there is any significant difference between word-of-mouth communications and other marketing communication tools. In all, a total of five research hypotheses were developed and in an attempt to test these hypotheses, a survey research method was used. The population of the study was 2,420,840 consumers of selected companies’ products in Lagos state, Rivers State, and Anambra State. The Taro Yamene’s formula was used to determine the sample size of 400. Then the judgmental sampling technique was applied in the distribution of the 400 questionnaires. A 4 point-likert scale question was used to collect data, while the tools used for hypotheses testing included OLS, independent t- test and MANOVA. Reliability of the instrument was tested using Crobach Alpha and a value of 0.824 was obtained. The results of the study shows that Consumers’ interactions through word-of-mouth (WOM) had a major impact on consumer response to a product and that quality product induces word-of-mouth communications, and largely driven by Consumer-orientation. Discovered also was that Marketing effort directed at consumers’ orientation leads to satisfaction and competitive edge, since the product are built through the eyes (specification) of the consumer. More effective, the cost of communication and other formal promo-tools lead to higher acquisition rates which in turn, reduces the per person purchase because, the huge communication cost are enshrined into the cost of the product r despite other exigencies in a dwindling economy like Nigeria, unlike WOM which was accentuated by satisfaction and has no price attached to it. It was however recommended that organizations’ emphasis should be directed at consumers’ satisfaction that would in turn propel repeat purchase and instigate satisfied consumers to be organizations best sales’ persons; serves as an attribute of innovativeness through word-of-mouth to achieve organization’s marketing objectives rather than incur huge expenses on communication and other promo-tools.