An Exploratory Study on Children’s Word-of-Mouth Communication
This study aims to contribute to the understanding of children’s word-of-mouth communication: how it is processed, its dimensions and its relation to other sources of information and to young consumers’ use of the Internet. Theoretical contributions from consumer socialization, new media and word-of-mouth communication studies are assembled, and an exploratory qualitative analysis in the form of focus group interviews with 7–11-year-old children is reported. We provide empirical evidence for word-of-mouth communication being a common activity among children. Observation and marketing exposure both complement and trigger word-of-mouth activity. Electronic word-of-mouth communication is less frequent, but the Internet is a relevant source of information and marketing exposure; it assists children’s learning about products and brands and furthers their purchase decision processes. This study suggests that word-of-mouth communication received by children is more complex and dynamic as compared to extant literature, suggesting that future research further explores its sought and unsought components, as well as its relationship with non-verbal peer influence that results from observation.
KeywordsWord-of-mouth communication Observation Peer interaction Children Socialization agents
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