Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shoppers Put More Trust in Brands that Offer Customer Reviews

According to a recent survey by Bazaarvoice and Vizu Corporation, approximately 80 percent of US shoppers place more trust in brands that offer customer ratings and reviews. Three out of four shoppers stated that it was extremely or very important to read customer reviews before making a purchase, and they prefer peer reviews over expert reviews by a 6-to-1 margin. The benchmark survey also polled UK consumers on their attitudes toward ratings and reviews. Customer ratings and reviews were important for over 50 percent of online shoppers in the UK.

Customer ratings and reviews have moved beyond a site feature to become an important part of brand identity. In the near future, shoppers will not only have more trust in brands that offer reviews but will actively demand this level of participation in the social commerce experience. This will also lead to powerful insights for brand marketers and merchandisers, and better service and products overall, says Bazaarvoice.

This concept ties directly into our previous blog, “Customers’ Voices Get Louder With Blogs”. As customers look to purchase products, they are searching for peer feedback in the form of reviews on e-commerce websites as well as what people are saying in their blogs. After all, they want to know, are people happy with this product? And, this information has never been easier to get.

More information can be found at

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Webcasts Still An Important Tool in Marketer’s Mix

With all the recent hype around Web 2.0 and emerging technologies, it would be easy to think that webcasts - - one of the tried and true tools many CRM vendors have used in the past to both educate and obtain leads -- may have gone by the wayside.

In fact, just the opposite is true. According to a recent study of B2B technology buyers by KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann, 70% of respondents ranked webcasts as the most popular type of online video content they access on a regular basis. Respondents also felt that good quality production and speedy downloads were of value, but adding glitzy video that was of no informational worth was a negative.

Savvy CRM marketers recognize this and are still leveraging the webcast to entice prospects to share contact information in exchange for virtually attending or downloading the events for free. The webcasts frequently contain valuable information for attendees in the form of data from analyst groups or research the company has conducted, as well as insight shared from customers or employees. This type of content really has to be there – otherwise attendees will not give out their well guarded contact information.

We all know that every potential buyer is pressed for time and has an overcrowded schedule. The webcast lets them come to you when they are ready and, if it is available for their mobile device or IPod, view it on-demand. I think the webcast is going to remain in the B2B technology marketer’s toolbox for awhile to come.

More information can be found at

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Customers’ Voices Get Louder With Blogs

Remember the good old days when all a company had to worry about when a customer had a bad experience was them telling a few of their friends? Today things are different, with more and more customers sharing their experiences and opinions about companies’ products and services in their online blogs. A blog with high readership could easily reach thousands of people, and a company who has a larger group of unhappy customers writing about them in blogs could have a disastrous effect on sales. On the flip side, the same scenario but replaced with a positive experience could do wonders for a company’s image and bottom line.

Many companies have responded to this movement by launching their own blogs. In addition to keeping their customers updated and informed, smart companies pay attention to the feedback their blogs get and act on it – letting customers know they are taken seriously. Companies should also pay attention to what is being said about them in other well read blogs and post comments and respond when they feel it is necessary. In fact, some of this data gleaned from these online interactions with customers can be incorporated into product development and marketing campaigns.

The bottom line is that today a customer’s voice can now be heard louder than ever, and have more influence over a companies’ reputation and sales. Having an effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategy in place is not only essential, but is a business necessity to keep these voices chorusing in your favor.

More information can be found at