Home  › Social › Social Commerce

How to Make Customer Content Go Multichannel

  |  June 1, 2010   |  Comments

Five principles for extending consumer reviews across marketing channels.

Consumers rarely buy a product without consulting customer reviews first. Before making just about any purchase - clothing, electronics, household items, anything - people go online to check out the reviews. A July 2009 study by Nielsen found the most trusted forms of media are "recommendations from people I know" (92 percent) and "consumer opinions posted online" (72 percent). I’d be willing to bet those numbers are even higher one year later.

What’s amazing, however, is that many retailers and brands have not done more with the wealth of online reviews about their products and services. They are not extending this valuable first-person, customer-contributed content across their entire marketing programs including e-mail, in-store signage, Facebook, Twitter, mobile, catalogs, direct mail, online advertising, TV commercials, and more.

Positive reviews are an extremely powerful marketing tool. By extending the customer voice across all marketing channels, brands and retailers can drive incredible value from their customers’ opinions. In other words, customer input creates great ad copy.

Here’s a look at how some innovative companies have extended customer content across marketing channels to drive a sustained increase in sales in their social commerce programs.

QVC featured top-rated products on its television broadcasts. The shopping channel labeled some products showcased on the program as "Customer Top Rated," and also published excerpts from online reviews on air, unedited, to reinforce the Customer Top Rated label. Sharing customers’ opinions on air worked so well in driving sales of these products that QVC aired a standalone show called "Customer Choice" that showcased only products rated highly by its customers.

"Customer reviews have now become an important tool and resource in our programming and merchandising strategies. They reinforce the trust our customers have with QVC and help to take our customers one step closer to an experience of shopping with their friends," said Alex Miller, director of programming at QVC.

There are many other examples of companies successfully leveraging customer review content across marketing channels. B2B marketer Treatment Abroad, which matches surgeons around the world to U.K. prospects, printed customer reviews in pamphlets and leaflets. Samsung, meanwhile, featured customer reviews in its pre-Super Bowl e-mail campaign. Intuit used customer review content in a far-reaching online display advertising campaign, and also used review content for its TurboTax product in in-store displays at Best Buy, Office Depot, and OfficeMax. These are just a few ways to use review content in multichannel marketing initiatives.

Including user-generated content in advertising campaigns works to boost sales. When Office Depot added top-rated review language to its paid search ads on Google, it recorded a 196 percent increase in revenues from paid search. When Rubbermaid included a positive customer review on a coupon, redemption rates for the coupon rose 10 percent, while Northern Tool boosted conversion by 10 percent on an e-mail campaign simply by including customer reviews in the e-mails.

These results show that customer-generated content does not only live online. The Internet is a convenient place for customers to share their credible opinions on products, but it’s up to you as a marketer to leverage this powerful content to drives sales in other channels.

When extending review content across marketing channels, remember five simple principles:

  1. Work together: Marketers, merchandisers, and brand managers should work together to identify the top-rated products and the most compelling reviews of those products to be used in marketing materials. The use of review content in multichannel marketing materials should meet your overall marketing goals.

  2. Choose wisely: Highlight the products that you really want to sell. People pay attention to products you promote with reviews, so make sure these are the items you want to move.

  3. Don’t be shy: Highlight the product’s value in numbers. For example, "22 of 24 users would recommend this product to a friend," or "4.8 of 5 stars." Don’t be afraid to include prominent stars, bold graphics, or highlight the most glowing words from reviews.

  4. Keep it short: Review snippets included in marketing materials should be short - no more than two lines.

  5. Get personal: Give the name and location (and/or age) of the reviewer. Showing customers that the reviewer is "someone like them" is a great way to build trust in the authenticity of the review content.

But lest we not forget, successful social commerce lives and dies on the analysis of your content and campaigns. Find out which of your multichannel campaigns including positive reviews performed the best, and run A/B tests to see which specific review content had a bigger impact on sales and ROI (define). All positive reviews are not created equal - and sometimes a more neutral, even-handed review can deliver the best results because consumers trust authentic reviews more than glowing ones.

Disclosure: QVC, Treatment Abroad, Samsung, Intuit, and Office Depot are clients of Bazaarvoice.

ClickZ Live New York Want to learn more?
Attend ClickZ Live New York March 30 - April 1. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 60 expert speakers to offer an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!


Sam Decker

Sam Decker is founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, the leading enterprise social curation company. He speaks and consults on digital growth strategy, based on years of experience in technology and social markets. He has written two books on word-of-mouth marketing and is an award-winning blogger (www.deckermarketing.com). As former chief marketing officer of Bazaarvoice, the market leader in hosted social commerce applications that drive sales, Sam worked to help brands present the right user-generated content at the right time in the purchase path, bringing real value to the consumer and the business. Prior to Bazaarvoice he drove Dell's customer segmentation, their customer-centricity strategy, and led Dell's consumer website, building Dell.com into the largest consumer e-commerce site at $3.5 billion in annual sales.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software
Manage your performance marketing with the right solution. Choose a platform that will mutually empower advertisers and media partners!

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.



    • SEO Specialist
      SEO Specialist (Bankrate.com) - New YorkBankrate, Inc. operates a network of personal finance related web sites for consumers.  Our sites provide...
    • Search Manager
      Search Manager (LOYAL3) - San FranciscoThe Role: We are looking for a bright, driven and personable performance-based marketer to join LOYAL3’...
    • Product Manager - Contract position
      Product Manager - Contract position (Wiley Publishing) - HobokenThis position can be located in either Hoboken, NJ or Indianapolis, IN. We are...