CMOs are not in control anymore. The balance of power in brand creation has shifted from companies into the hands of consumers — who are increasingly turning to online reviews for information about products and services, and shaping brands with their feedback.
Online Reviews and the New Reality
Trends in consumer behavior point to the reality that Google (with its star ratings) and review sites are critical channels for reaching consumers and gaining mindshare among your target audience. Myriad factors contribute to this new reality, including the increasing adoption of mobile technology and social platforms.
The market is now completely transparent — customers are exchanging information about products, services and locations 24/7. A bad customer experience becomes public knowledge in seconds, as reviews and streamed video are posted and shared across social networks.
And a subpar online reputation will cost you business. As much as 84 percent of consumers now look at online reviews before deciding where to spend their money. Most millennials — 93 percent — say they rely on blogs and user/consumer reviews before making a purchase.
This new reality has huge implications for marketers, who must decide whether to co-create their brands with consumers online — or lose control. Enlisting your customers to advocate for you online is the only way you can stay competitive and continue to grow your business.
A Plan of Action
Online reputation management strategies have helped leading companies harness the voice of the customer to advocate for them online. When done right, monitoring and requesting reviews and enlisting social communities to share positive experiences can pay huge dividends.
Read our guide for CMOs, “Turn Your Customers into Brand Champions” to learn more about how online reviews are transforming marketing, and how you can turn customers into digital advocates who help drive traffic and revenue.
Keep Reading: How to Build Brand Trust with Transparency