Communications Trend: Consumers as Marketers

A trend that we have seen grow over the past couple of years is that consumers are becoming marketers for our brands—and important marketers at that. With the continued rise in social media channels, mobile apps and the like, almost everyone has the opportunity to be engaged and easily express their individual ideas and opinions to the world. We recently read two different articles that highlight just how influential consumer opinions have become to other consumers.
Bulldog Reporter spotlighted a survey by MarketingProfs which revealed that online review sites, such as have a huge impact on consumer purchases and behavior. In fact, 1/3 of consumers said, “online ratings and reviews were the most influential factor in informing their online purchasing decisions.”
The second article from Marketing Week says something similar, “everyone has the ability to be engaged, enabled and empowered to create and collaborate. Almost everyone has access to a WiFi or mobile phone signal, to platforms that will unleash their inner creativity and talent. Almost everyone has access to the social infrastructure that now underpins and drives our culture.”
This topic interests us for obvious reasons. We work in marketing and public relations but are also consumers in everyday life. After reading about some of the stats, we were reminded of how word-of-mouth influences our own day-to-day decisions. When we go to choose a recipe, restaurant, hotel or whatever it may be, we almost always go straight to the internet to read user ratings and reviews to make our final decision. And most of the time—we end up agreeing with the reviews.
Whether it’s via Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or otherwise, consumers have the power to share their thoughts and opinions with friends and those in their social network. We all in turn use those ideas to make our own decisions. As marketers it is important for us to recognize this, think of creative ways to start the conversation and then encourage our audience to use the tools available to help spread the word about the brands they love—our brands.

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