Part of a series of Top 10 Closing the Sale Mobile Marketing Strategies
Mobile Community Review Marketing
In a Harvard Business Review blog, Bill Lee proclaims “Marketing is Dead… Traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.”[i]
He goes on to provide evidence that buyers are not paying attention to traditional marketing, but instead spending more time on social media with friends and family or in online communities reading customer reviews. Visibility in this space is referred to as earned media. By genuinely caring for customers and getting them to love your products, services and customer support, you can turn them into believers that will spread the word.
Word of Mouth Marketing: One of the most powerful forces in sales is word of mouth recommendations. There is a wide range of community sites for different product categories and different industries that provide millions of reviews of establishments, products and services. Finding, engaging and influencing community participants at sites such as Yelp can help you gain visibility with your target market.
Best Buy in the UK has created a mobile app that provides information to shoppers to enhance their decision making process, either in the store or before coming to a store. Its mobile app provides access to thousands of customer reviews and editorial articles to help customers select the right product.[iv]
The methods described above follow a traditional marketing approach – the corporation trying to influence community members. An alternative approach is to discover who influences your customers and form an allegiance with them to become your brand advocates. The greater their sphere of influence, the higher the likelihood of achieving brand awareness and impact.
In this new environment, using cash to obtain customer advocacy will be less effective than other inducements such as providing insider knowledge and having a positive impact on their online reputation and credibility.
“One of Microsoft’s MVP (Most Valuable Professional) customers is known as Mr. Excel to his followers. On some days, his website gets more visits than Microsoft’s Excel page – representing an audience of obvious importance to Microsoft, which supports Mr. Excel’s efforts with insider knowledge and previews of new releases. In return, Mr. Excel and other MVPs like him are helping Microsoft penetrate new markets affordably.”[v]
Solutions such as Zuberance are popping up to fill the gap of nurturing key influencers.[vi] It is a social marketing platform that helps companies identify and mobilize brand advocates willing to spread positive word of mouth about a particular product or service. It simplifies the process of enabling those brand advocates to pass along promotional offers to their social networks. Furthermore, the built‑in analytics help track results in real time.[vii]
Needle is a real‑time shopper-to-shopper chat platform that links shoppers with authentic and credible trained fans of that particular product. These trained fans can provide consumers with firsthand knowledge, and when a product is sold they get credits towards purchasing products for themselves.[viii]
Mobile Comparison Shopping Marketing
There are also several comparison shopping sites where customers can scan your product barcodes and instantly get hundreds of prices from both online and nearby retailers. Comparison shopping marketing is taking off with popular apps such as eBay’s RedLaser,[ix] Flow Powered by Amazon, Price Check by Amazon[x] and Shopzilla.[xi] This ability to instantly compare prices is putting pressure on retailers’ margins and could also be having an impact on cross-border price differentials. (See Appendix G.)
Community Review/Comparison Shopping Strategy Step-by-Step Guidance
Community Reviews and Comparison Shopping are two initiatives taken by a high proportion of buyers across a wide range of offerings. As a result, companies should consider taking several steps to capitalize on branding, marketing and sales opportunities for their offerings.
- Determine which community review/comparison shopping sites cover the marketplace for your offerings.
- Post banner ads on searches for your offering categories to gain visibility – it is critical to identify your differentiators, especially if your price is higher than the competition.
- Post click-to-call ads enabling direct contact with your representatives – consumers are often overwhelmed with the volume of information available online and prefer to simply talk to someone.
- Make it easy for your satisfied customers to post on community review sites – with a little coaxing you can get more people posting positive comments about your offerings.
- Seek out comments from dissatisfied customers – this is a valuable source of market research that should not be dismissed.
- Contact dissatisfied customers directly to get them back on your side. (e.g., “Sorry about the problem you experienced. We have done x and y to fix it. Please accept 1,000 loyalty points and we apologize for the inconvenience. Hope to see you back again soon.”)
- Conduct a root cause analysis of common problems and fix them.
Community Review/Comparison Shopping Strategies: What strategies could you implement to generate more visibility and influence customers during the community review and comparison shopping phases of the buying cycle?
[i] Bill Lee. “Marketing is Dead.” Harvard Business Review Blog Network. August 9, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/marketing_is_dead.html?awid=8266374801914784340-3271.
[ii] Jordi Planas. “Yelp for Android.” Hi Android. July 26, 2010. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://hi-android.info/2010/07/26/yelp-for-android/.
[iv] “Best Buy UK makes a significant move into m-commerce.” QR Code Press. November 15, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.qrcodepress.com/best-buy-uk-makes-a-significant-move-into-m-commerce/853851/.
[v] Bill Lee. “Marketing is Dead.” Harvard Business Review Blog Network. August 9, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/marketing_is_dead.html?awid=8266374801914784340-3271.
[vii] Neil Glassman. “What every social media marketer should know about Zuberance Advocate.” Social Times. August 25, 2010. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://socialtimes.com/zuberance-advocate-platform_b21241.
[viii] Allie Walker. “Brand experts provide consumers with real-time product consultations.” PSFK. July 28, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.psfk.com/2012/07/brand-experts-provide-consumer-advice-future-of-retail.html.
[ix] Aron Hsiao. “Comparison Shop with eBay and RedLaser.“ About.com. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://ebay.about.com/od/holidayshoppingonebay/a/How-To-Comparison-Shop-For-The-Holidays-With-Ebay.htm.
[x] Joe Weisenthal. “An Analyst Walked Into Best Buy, And Discovered Firsthand How Amazon Is Destroying It.” Business Insider – Retail. October 17, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.businessinsider.com/analyst-amazons-price-check-app-is-creaming-best-buy-2012-10.
[xi] Lena Rao. “Amazon‘s Flow iPhone App Brings Augmented Reality To Barcode Scanning And Product Search.” TechCrunch. November 2, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/02/amazons-flow-iphone-app-brings-augmented-reality-to-barcode-scanning/.