It’s interesting to be writing this, because as a marketer I tend to forget that, when it comes to my own consumer journey, I show what some might perceive to be “questionable” behavior. When looking for a product to buy, my decision is almost always driven by a product review site. I start by finding the best one:
- Amazon.com: 12 product reviews, 4.1 rating…not substantial enough.
- The brand’s website: 70 reviews, 3.9 rating…better, but they are hosted on the brand’s website; not credible enough for me.
- Influenster.com: 250 reviews, 4.6 rating…jackpot!
Brand website not credible enough? Well, no. As a consumer I tend to avoid reading product reviews on a brand’s website. Why? Because somewhere in the back of my skeptical mind, I just don’t feel like they are authentic or representative enough.
Think of it this way: If a brand has 350 awful reviews on one of their product lines, versus 60 okay ones, would they really let the bad ones linger on their website for all their loyal customers to see? The marketer in me knows the value of establishing trust with consumers through transparency; as a consumer, though, I’d rather have an impartial opinion.
In a time of “plastic everything,” I have also turned a blind eye to product endorsements from big influencers–and I even find a lack of credibility among sales representatives. I was recently persuaded to buy a facial product that was a terrible fit for my skin and made me turn away from a brand I used to love. At a time when the survival of brands lies in their ability to create meaningful connections with consumers, our intentions are decidedly not the same.
So, what does a wary product fanatic like myself resort to?
Product review sites, the holy grail—everything I need to know about a product voiced directly by “real people” like me. It can’t get more meaningful than that. A spectrum of consumers expressing their honest experiences with the products that are part of my consideration set. Sometimes I can even find consumers just like me (thank you, Salma from Egypt and Amy from California, who also understand the struggles of having sensitive skin). Their endorsements will always carry more weight.
In an age of mobile communication and e-commerce, when research and purchasing power are at our fingertips, real-time decision-making is more critical than ever. That’s why product review sites like influenster.com are my meaningful media.