What Marketers Don’t Get About Online Customer Reviews: Harvard Business Review

27 Feb What Marketers Don’t Get About Online Customer Reviews: Harvard Business Review

What You Need to Know About Online Reviews

How do most people make buying decisions these days? It’s not the way you think, and you may need to adjust your marketing accordingly!

Harvard Business Review’s leading article in the January 2014 issue, cites recent research on how shoppers make buying decisions. They found these decisions are typically influenced by a combination of three things:

– their Prior Preferences

– Mass Marketing

– Other people’s Opinions

Hence, PMO, (Preferences, Marketing, Others)

In the last few years, O has become much more influential in categories where ‘trust’ is a key factor. Is trust a key factor in your company’s brand? If so, you should adjust your marketing to appeal to your prospects with stories and stats from your customers.

HBR states: “Banner ads intended to create or reinforce brand awareness are not very successful either, because when it comes time to buy, the weight of trusted reviews usually overrides any residual effect of fleeting exposure to an ad.”

But is there growing skepticism that online reviews are fake? Not according to HBR. Text-based review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others are becoming better at weeding out fake reviews. And when those reviews are in the form of video testimonials, there’s no disputing they’re the real deal.

To ignore this trend would be to do so at your folly. There’s no going back. Here’s how the Harvard Business Review article closes:

“We don’t believe that consumers used to the richness of online reviews will ever return to relying on traditional marketing. Consider these two data points. First, 30% of consumers say they begin their online purchase research by going to Amazon for product info and reviews; and second, studies commissioned by Google found shoppers consult 10.4 sources of info before making a purchase. Voracious information-seeking has become ingrained in consumers and we can envision no scenario in which they will see traditional marketing as a better provider of product information.”

Bottom line: you now know how your potential customers decide to buy. It’s time to produce some testimonial videos that will persuade them to buy from you.

Mike McCurlie
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