Consumer trust and social media marketing

July 19, 2010

I came across a new chart today, Consumer trust and purchase behaviorand found the relationship between source of input for decision-making and the resulting usefulness and trust they found in the content – people tend to trust content at approximately half the rate that they find it useful.

Point #1 – Consumers trust AND value the usefulness of information gleaned through conversation with friends, families and co-workers (peers) at an exceedingly high level around the globe. I suppose the only interesting point here is that the observation is global in its’ nature.

Point #2 – Those same consumers trust comments and blogs less. Core social content is seen as less valid in decision-making. In fact, comments are trusted and found useful at about half the rate as personal relationships, and blogs at half of that.

Point #3 – Not just that, but they tend to trust the content half as much as they find it useful. THis is probably the more interesting stat… seen from a different dimension, people consciously use the latter two sources of content at twice the rate that they find it trustworthy. This doesn’t seem sustainable. It seems to beg for a new solution… consumers around the globe appear open for new social solutions to amass decision-making content.

Love to hear your thoughts!

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Consumer-centricity starts at home

June 11, 2009

To effectively position a business as centered around a target audience the whole organization needs to deliver a resounding brand message that is consistent with the strategy intent. Leadership style and a connection to the organization are equally important as messaging and marketing strategies when it comes time to deploy customer centric marketing strategies.

Pulling from notes and other articles, I’ve found several points that describe the customer-centric leader and things that marketers need to consider as they develop marketing strategy:

  • They see their team is the face of the company. Beyond ads or collateral or a website, your employees are delivering a clear message to your customers and prospects… is that message in line with your customer-centric aspirations?
  • They see trust as the lever to bring their teams in line with their customers. When you deliver a message to your customers, do they hear what you tried to say or do they parse words and wonder what you “really” tried to say. Consistency and sincerity deliver the environment for team members to foster a trust relationship with clients, and visa-versa. Trust is hard to get a first time and nearly impossible to get a second time.
  • They use customer insight as the guiding light for the organization. Largely it’s a communication issue; beyond gathering information, they seek to spread that information into broad areas of the company. Ironically, in most companies, the team members closest to the customer are the most likely to know what is working yet least likely to have a communication channel to upper management and product teams. Conversely, many top management teams sponsors consultant research projects to learn about their customers and then they don’t share the learning deeply into the organization.
  • They get their hands dirty. They go to clients, they engage with teams at different levels and internal organizations. More than a decade ago I worked at a global technology distributor and asked that I spend a few days working in a warehouse… it was probably the single best learning experience I had. I “knew” what it took to make the business operate, how difficult the operations part of that business was, and all of that helped me greatly understand how to communicate shipping issues to clients in the ensuing years.

Have you factored internal organizational dynamics into your customer-centric marketing strategy?


Customer voice… or is it a scream?

March 11, 2008

Social marketing, customer voiceMuch has been written about the groundswell of participation in social commerce initiatives. This technology has become a new channel of communication for many organizations, providing a great way for their consumers to contribute content for their peers consideration and a great way for marketers to hear how well they’re doing in their relationship with their customers.

I have to ask the question… is this really what consumers see this functionality as? I don’t think so. My belief is that consumer participation in social commerce initiatives is more an indicator of their core need to see relevant content. They feel so strongly about this need that they’re willing to write the damn content themselves.

Years ago the web promised to be the relevant content that consumers were going to flock towards, yet to this point, most of the relevant content on the web has either been delivered via a self described need on the part of the consumer (i.e. search engines – enter a keyword, get relevant content), or consumer generated content (i.e. social commerce or networks). So, where have the marketers been in this equation? On the sidelines..social commerce, customer voice

Regardless of whether or not my point is accurate, the cat is out of the bag. Consumers have a ton of control over the success of marketing initiatives and marketers are left trying to figure out strategy in a new world of consumer empowerment.

Love to hear your thoughts –

Mark


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