I am the proud owner of a brand new MacBook. Love it. Easy to use. Blah Blah Blah. But what struck me, as I was tooling around on iPhoto last night, was my ultimate purchase motivation ... recommendations from 4 or 5 people I know who are Mac enthusiasts. Yeah, the Mac commercials are amusing and quite effective, but at the end of the day they had little to no impact on my decision. Were it not for that word-of-mouth ["WOM"] influence, I would be typing this post from my shiny new Dell Inspiron. This is not a revelation -- I've worked in the WOM marketing world for 7 years. It's just not that often that the power of it [WOM] hits you right between the eyes.
To recap: I spent $2,000 on something I had very little experience with and knew little about. I never took a test-ride at a retail location. My purchase decision was not based on any single piece of marketing communication. Rather, I listened to a few people I know [and 2 of them I would consider acquaintances at best]. I made my purchase online. I must be the most profitable customer Apple could ever imagine. Or I must be really impulsive.