Online reviews have become one of the most important components in purchasing decisions by consumers in North America. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research which included over 1000 participants, 90% of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. Interestingly, negative reviews typically came from online review sites whereas Facebook was the main source of positive reviews. Forrester Research predicts that by 2020, 42% of in-store sales will be from customers who are influenced by web product research.
A satisfied customer is your best marketing executive and therefore a company could tap into its rich customer database to utilize them by giving incentives for referrals. Citibank gives Rs 2000 per referral for credit cards to its existing customers, while Google has announced $7.50 per referral to its account holders for promoting Adwords campaigns. Many top-selling magazines such as Readers’ Digest, The Week, India Today have all used referral marketing over the years to boost business. Sometimes, the incentive may be a collection of best articles that have already appeared in the magazine since inception or it could be a useful booklet that the reader can keep as a reference.
"Just wanted to say thanks for all the link-building, help, tips and etc that you guys do for me and my site. I greatly appreciate it. My father and I went out to dinner last night and toasted you all. Why? Not only are you nice people, but now our site ranks well for several competitive phrases... If any of you are there (Pubcon conference) as well, I'm buying a round and I hope your livers are in shape. Hope to meet several of you in person." Subbu A.
When you think about the marketing process it is quite easy to recognize that it does not only relates to the provider, it also relates directly to the customer. Marketing holds all of the tools and strategies used to entice a customer into buying or trying a product. If the marketing is successful then your company will gain value through the consumers purchase. An example of this is something as simple as cold calling. Cold calling is a very old marketing technique that simply requires you to dial a phone number and try to sell your product or a service to the person that answers the phone. Once you are live on the phone you use your sales pitch to try and sell the product. This is marketing. Advertising on billboards, magazines, television; all of these are part of the marketing process.
A content specialist needs to be a Jack or Jill of all trades, utilizing excellent written and verbal communication skills, above-average computer literacy, and a natural interest in trends. This job is ultimately about translating the key aspects of the product into content the target demographic finds appealing. This is part art, part critical thinking, and 100% attention to detail.
Related to consumers' attitudes toward a brand or even toward the marketing communication, different online and social media statistics, including the number of likes and shares within a social network, can be used. The number of reviews for a certain brand or product and the quality assessed by users are indicators of attitudes. Classical measures of consumer attitude toward the brand can be gathered through surveys of consumers. Behavioral measures are very important because changes in consumers' behavior and buying decisions are what marketers hope to see through viral campaigns. There are numerous indicators that can be used in this context as a function of marketers' objectives. Some of them include the most known online and social media statistics such as number and quality of shares, views, product reviews, and comments. Consumers' brand engagement can be measured through the K-factor, the number of followers, friends, registered users, and time spent on the website. Indicators that are more bottom-line oriented focus on consumers' actions after acknowledging the marketing content, including the number of requests for information, samples, or test-drives. Nevertheless, responses to actual call-to-action messages are important, including the conversion rate. Consumers' behavior is expected to lead to contributions to the bottom line of the company, meaning increase in sales, both in quantity and financial amount. However, when quantifying changes in sales, managers need to consider other factors that could potentially affect sales besides the viral marketing activities. Besides positive effects on sales, the use of viral marketing is expected to bring significant reductions in marketing costs and expenses.
According to a paper by Duncan Watts and colleagues entitled: "Everyone's an influencer", the most common risk in viral marketing is that of the influencer not passing on the message, which can lead to the failure of the viral marketing campaign. A second risk is that the influencer modifies the content of the message. A third risk is that influencers pass on the wrong message. This can result from a misunderstanding or as a deliberate move.