User generated content key tool to improve sales
The research, conducted at London’s Internet World show in April 2010, spoke to 70 marketers and professionals from the online world.
A majority of 75% said that brands have become more comfortable engaging with consumers directly over the course of the last year. 62% said that they have started to engage directly with consumers, end users or clients to shape the future of their business. Of these, one in four (25%) chooses to do so through online forums.
More than one in three advertising and e-commerce professionals (37%), said that consumer input has had a positive impact on their business. Perhaps most positively, a total of 64% said that they had responded publically to online criticism – a figure that has almost doubled in the last 12 months. The number of people who moderate or delete online criticism also dropped significantly – from 18% in 2009 to 2% in 2010, highlighting an increased transparency in company communication.
Alexander Miller, Team Leader Sales Ciao Advertising UK at Microsoft, comments: “Brands have learned to address consumer concerns directly, whether it’s through face-to-face engagement or one of a range of increasingly powerful online communications channels. Honesty and transparency are the bywords of social media and brands who take that on board stand to benefit from a genuine, two-way relationship with their audience.”
The research also highlighted the value of user generated content (UGC), with 76% naming it as a key tool to improve sales. 96% specified peer-to-peer recommendations as one of the most influential forms of UGC and 31% said that online reviews were the single most effective and impactful forms of UGC.
Miller adds: “The willingness to engage directly with end users has given brands a better insight into consumer priorities. 83% of the people we spoke to said that they felt they had developed a good understanding of what motivates their customers as a result of their direct engagement tactics.”
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