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Abstract

Do word-of-mouth and other peer influence processes really affect how quickly people adopt a new product? Can one identify the most influential customers and hence those who are good seeding points for a word-of-mouth marketing campaign? Can one also identify those customers most likely to be influenced by their peers? A pharmaceutical company seeking to improve its marketing effectiveness by leveraging social dynamics among physicians set out to answer these questions. There is indeed evidence of social influence, even after controlling for sales calls and individual characteristics. Also, people who are central in the network and those who use the product intensively are more influential. Finally, people who view themselves as opinion leaders are less affected by peer influence, whereas people who others really turn to for information or advice are not differentially affected. This last finding suggests that self-reported opinion leadership captures self-confidence, whereas a central position in the social network captures true leadership. Since sociometric techniques identify true opinion leaders more effectively than self-reports do, word-of-mouth programs targeting sociometric leaders are expected to be more effective than programs targeting self-reported leaders

Abstract

The basics of product and service branding are generally the same. However, creating a brand for a company that offers services requires more effort because the services are hard to visualize and each client has different expectations. More than promoting any of the services, branding aims to create a perception of trust so that the brand name to be associated with integrity, quality, and innovation. The purpose of this paper is to determine how entrepreneurs develop their service-based business through social networks branding and also what are the benefits obtained from each method. The authors have researched previously what is the impact of social network marketing on business development and noticed that service-based businesses tend to obtain benefits from different activities comparing to product-based businesses. The authors researched through a semistructured questionnaire the online activities of 71 SMEs from Bucharest that offer various types of services to their customers. The results obtained are then correlated with the online and offline performance of the company.

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