Customers Trust Other Customers
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it’s what consumers tell each other it is.” Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit.
Consumers are bombarded by thousands of advertisements every single day. They make split second decisions about which product or service applies to them at that moment, and which company they might choose to look into further.
But at the end of the day, no matter what the ad says, consumers will look to 3rd parties for validation of that business’s claims. Is your business prepared?
In this post, we’ll discuss a few staggering reasons we can trust Cook’s claim and what you should be doing about it, and one major mistake you want to ensure your business is not making.
The Age of the Consumer
Let me ask you a quick question: if you claim to be a tidy person, but all your friends agree that they’ve never visited your home when there wasn’t some form of clutter on the floor, are you really a tidy person? The answer is most likely no.
The same can be said about advertising for your own business.
While you may have an idea about how your business represents itself and the type of service you provide, whether it’s true or not may not necessarily matter. Because in the age of the consumer, 83% of customers trust brand recommendations from their peers over what a brand advertises about themselves.
If that statistic made your mouth drop in disbelief even just a bit, you aren’t alone.
Most businesses are spending their time and money crafting how they advertise and market themselves to a consumer, through photos, a well-designed pitch, or even video. But while the stat may be a tough pill to swallow, it doesn’t mean you should lose hope.
When your business makes a claim about themselves in an advertisement (even if it is true), the real determining factor of whether or not you will win over a new customer depends on what online reviews say.
Luckily for you, a good reputation management and marketing service can turn an otherwise scary statistic into one you hope to be true, because when you have a thriving 5-star reputation, you’ll want as many people to see it as possible!
Just How Much Do Customers Trust Each Other?
Reputation management can be fueled by customers’ trust for each other. And the numbers prove it.
- 70% of customers read four or more reviews before trusting a business
- 72% of customers say that positive reviews helped them trust a local business more.
- 18-34 year olds will read up to 11 reviews before they are willing to trust a business. (The importance of this statistic will most likely increase as Gen Z’s purchasing power is added to that of millennials.)
Customers not only trust online reviews, they are dependent on the reviews of their fellow customers when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
They need confirmation from their peers.
Reputation management and marketing is more viable now than ever as it enables your customers to effectively sell to each other through the power of positive online reviews.
Your Voice vs The Consumer’s Voice
Without a good reputation your voice doesn’t stand against the consumer’s voice. Consider the analogy used at the beginning of this post, the moral is that one biased voice is overcome by many unbiased, collective voices. In the eyes of the consumer, your voice (or what you say in an ad) is coming from a place of bias, as you are speaking about yourself…and because you are trying to make a profit.
On the contrary, when the consumer reads positive online reviews, the source, in their mind, appears to be unbiased because it is coming from one of their own; a fellow consumer. If your reviews are numerous, this will also create a sort of ‘public consensus’, adding more credibility to your brand. Remember, in the age of the consumer what you say about yourself is far less compelling than what your customers say about you.
However, on the other hand, if your reviews match what you’re saying about yourself, you can be seen as that much more trustworthy, and that’s the ultimate win!
Don’t Make this Mistake!
We’ve already discussed the importance of having reviews in order for customers to trust what you advertise about yourself. But another massive consequence to not having reviews in place is that your business could be inadvertently advertising for your competitors, and you may not even realize it. While you are spending money on advertisements, you could be driving consumers to choose your competitors that have higher ratings.
How could this possibly happen, you ask?
Take for example a scenario where a customer sees an advertisement for a lawn care business. Upon seeing the ad the customer becomes curious and researches all lawn care business near them. The customer then notices that another lawn care company near them has a higher star rating than the original advertisement they saw.
In effect, the original business has advertised for their competitors.
So, Are Advertisements Unnecessary?
Considering Cook’s claim, if what you advertise about your brand is subject to the opinions of the consumer, should you be marketing and advertising at all? The answer is yes. Without a doubt, YES.
You can’t expect to get customers to show up at your door (whether physically or online) without it. The key is being prepared for customers to show up to check you out before you spend a ton of time and money in getting them there. Spending time and money on advertisements, without first focusing on a good reputation, could lead to a waste of resources.
By using reputation marketing, you can harness the power of your satisfied customers by utilizing their positive online reviews. Rather than you saying your business is awesome, your customers will be saying your business is awesome. This will give your brand much more credibility in the eyes of the public.
Your advertisements will actually carry more impact once customers cross check what they saw on TV or online with a consumer written review. In essence, your happy customers will be doing the selling for you.
As customers are becoming more interconnected in the age of the consumer, so too are they becoming more dependent on each other’s reviews. Your satisfied customers can now be your best salespeople, you just have to utilize their trust effectively with reputation marketing.
*stats sourced by Nielsen, BrightLocal, and Business2community