Targeting Women's Clothing Fashion Opinion Leaders In Media Planning: An Application For Magazines

Eric Vernette
University of Toulouse

The interest in opinion leadership was first in­vestigated by sociologists in the United States in the 1950s. Their studies showed how those opin­ion leaders who are more exposed to media pro­cess the information they receive and forward it to their immediate circle of friends or relatives (Katz and Lazarsfeld, 1955). In marketing, the opinion leader is someone who informally influ­ences the attitudes of other individuals in an in­tended direction (Reynolds and Wells, 1977). A great number of marketing researches conducted in the 1970s and 1980s highlight the potential of opinion leaders as a media target because they provide a primary 'word of mouth' source of information in interpersonal communications: their immediate environment (friends, colleagues, neigh­bors, social contacts) seeks their views before or after buying a product or service (Bearden and Etzel, 1982; Dichter, 1966; Montgomery and Silk, 1971; Newman and Staelin, 1973). Research has also shown that information spread by word of mouth has a greater impact on decisions to buy than other marketer-dominated sources of infor­mation such as publicity (Herr, Kardes, and Kim, 1991; Price and Feick, 1984).