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During last year’s M2W®, Jeff Weiss and Deborah Adams of Harbinger Communications gave us insight into how the dynamics of word-of-mouth marketing have changed in the ‘real’ and digital worlds and how the lifestage of a woman affects the way she gets and spreads information.  Now, Harbinger has released findings from their latest study that suggests that not only does the lifestage of a woman affect how she uses off and online forms of word-of-mouth, but product category also plays a vital role in how women seek and spread the word about brands.  So which categories are most word-of-mouth worthy?  The study found women are most likely to share information about restaurants (78%), automotive (74%) and entertainment (72%) and are least likely to share their preferences about fashion jewelry and accessories (30%).  Other interesting nuggets:

  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of women rely on friends and family when exploring restaurants, but only 41% rely on them when deciding about clothing or fashion.
  • Half (51%) of ‘Singeltons’ (defined by Harbinger as women who are single, usually under the age of 45 without children), but only a third (34%) of ‘Career Graduates’ (women who are no longer working fulltime; over the age of 50, without children living at home) rely on family and friends when making choices about home furnishings.
  • ‘New Moms’ are the most likely to go online first for product information before turning to family and friends to finalize their choice while members of the ‘Back to Me’ lifestage (women with children who have all left home) are most likely to look to family and friends first for information before going online to finalize their choice.

”Marketers need to be aware of how product category and lifestage impact the decision-making process so they can provide women with relevant, useful information where they prefer to find it,” said M2W® speaker Deborah Adams, SVP, Harbinger.  “Our study has provided a general roadmap for reaching women at different lifestages with category-specific messages.”


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