Rise of the Review Economy: 7 Ways Marketers Can Use Product Reviews Throughout the Entire Funnel

January 18, 2018

Review Economy

Editor’s Note: This post is the fourth in our “Rise of the Review Economy” series produced in conjunction with G2Crowd. Other posts from this series can be viewed here.

The value of product reviews is growing, and growing fast. No longer are reviews solely lower funnel marketing opportunities.  

Effective marketers are beginning to understand that product reviews can have an outsized influence on the entire funnel and the complete customer experience — from product development and thought leadership to website and social media marketing. 

Ultimately, reviews and customer comments on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, are a fertile ground for marketers. By paying attention to customer voices, marketers can learn how their products and services are being perceived in the marketplace. Product reviews and customer comments can even provide a pathway for marketers and engineers to understand how their products and services can be improved or marketed more effectively.

Here are seven ways marketers can use product reviews throughout the funnel — from designing better product enhancements to upselling and cross-selling existing customers.

1. R&D — Develop new products and improve current ones

Through product reviews, customers can oftentimes provide clues as to what additional features they’d like from a product. By paying careful attention to reviews and user comments, marketers can discern how to improve current products by fixing flaws and even develop ideas for new products by fulfilling customer wishes. 

2. Produce thought leadership and other content

By monitoring product reviews and customer comments on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, marketers can get a window into what their audience cares most about. For instance, if your product has dozens of features, but users focus their comments on only two or three, this can be an opportunity for insightful marketers to build thought leadership content around the features that are most important to their audience. Additionally, marketers can monitor what the audience is saying about competitors and emphasize any advantages to craft content that gives their company the upper hand.

3. Generate case studies

For marketing teams looking to feature customer voices, positive product reviews are a must-have. In the past, case studies have been challenging for marketers to produce. It's oftentimes a challenge to find a customer that a) loves your product and b) is willing to say so publicly. With positive reviews, a) and b) are taken care of; all that remains is convincing the happy customer to participate in a formal case study. Even negative product reviews can provide opportunities for case studies. When a company solves the problem in a bad review, the story of turning a negative into a positive can make for a compelling customer tale.

4. Address negative reviews head on  

While negative reviews are unfortunate, they also present a big opportunity. Shoppers who seek out negative reviews are generally more engaged with their pre-purchase research, viewing almost four times as many products as the average visitor to a site. Marketers should seek out customers who have posted bad reviews and offer a response and clear up misconceptions. If these negative reviews identify a genuine problem, marketers should work to get the issue fixed. And when customers who post a bad review have their issue addressed, marketers can even reach out for updated — and presumably more positive — reviews.  

5. Support account-based marketing

Account-based marketing relies on strong communication between marketing and sales. By monitoring product reviews and social media comments by specific customer accounts, marketers can glean important information that can be passed to their sales counterparts. The sales team can then use these insights to better understand what specific accounts need and want.  

6. Equip salespeople with the tools content to communicate more effectively with customers and prospects

In addition to supporting ABM and tactics for addressing specific accounts, product reviews can inspire content that addresses how the broader marketplace responds to your products, including the identification of pain-points that need to be addressed. By studying product reviews and social media comments by the target audience, marketers can better equip salespeople with content and presentations that speak directly to the customer’s needs.

7. Provide sales enablement

Marketing can curate key learnings from product reviews, such as comments that help inform how the market is thinking about or pushing back on one's products/services. This approach helps salespeople update their positioning, ensure they’re proactively addressing potential concerns, and, as a result, increase their likelihood to win deals.

The customer voice is becoming more crucial every day, and listening to it can be the difference between marketing that succeeds and marketing that fails. Product reviews are a key part of the customer voice, and marketers that pay close attention to this aspect of the customer voice can boost their effectiveness throughout the funnel. 

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