The Power of Consumer-Generated Marketing

by Natasha Ambavle |

Who remembers Apple’s iconic #ShotOnIPhone campaign or GoPro’s consumer-created pictures and videos? Chances are, most of us do because most of us either took photos for these campaigns or were exposed to a thousand images with the hashtag on our social media feed. 
Content is king, wouldn’t you say? Imagine being able to market your brand almost solely through organic, consumer-generated content! Today it’s just about possible. And while that’s a little wild for most brands, and the more conservative marketers may cringe at the idea, there is a kernel of truth in it. The traffic drive by this and the reach of such content can supersede even promotional content generated by your marketing machine.
Wondering why? Well, the market is crowded with influencers and media strategists. It’s common knowledge among consumers that brands invest heavily in advertising and promotions; this is precisely why the average consumer relies more on genuine customer reviews and is less influenced by promotional content.
According to Corey Eridon of HubSpot, “People born between 1977-1994 say that the online product reviews are more important to them than those of their family and friends. This target group has about $200 billion of purchasing power, giving major competition and soon bypassing Baby Boomers (people born between 1946-1964) as the most significant consumer group.
Before you rush in to leverage the power of user-generated content, let’s explore what exactly consumer-generated marketing is and why it can prove to be so important for your business.

What is Consumer-Generated Marketing?

Consumer-Generated Marketing is a marketing strategy that utilizes user-created material to promote and market the brand and its products. The term includes a wide range of activities: product reviews, videos, podcasts, social media posts, articles, blogs, photo-tagging, and other activities.
The core ingredient of consumer-generated marketing is content. Content could either be generated by inviting customers to create content or leveraging customers’ content (feedback and reviews) to your advantage.

The Upside of Consumer-Generated Marketing

  • Improves SEO Ranking – Positive reviews are a great way to boost SEO rankings. User-generated content also increases click-through rates on Google Ads. According to Kissmetrics, “25% of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are linked to user-generated content.” Consumer-generated marketing also has a considerable impact on reach and market growth.
  • Higher Conversion Rate – User-generated content generates more traffic than brand-produced content and has a higher conversion rate.
  • Keeps the Brand Relevant – ‘Netizens’ are trendsetters as well as eager and quick trend-followers. If there is a new trend or a cause, chances are the netizens are already talking about it online. User-generated helps in keeping the brand trendy and relevant.
  • Economical and Profitable – For user-generated content, the company need not spend millions on promotional campaigns. Organic user-generated content is inexpensive and offers excellent value for your investment.
  • Access to Valuable Data – User-generated content is rich in insight and value. Analyzing this data can give you valuable insights into your product, customer experience, branding, and marketing strategies.
  • Increases Brand Credibility – Genuine and organic online reviews on public forums work in favor of the brand. Positive product reviews and customer experiences can help improve brand credibility in the market.
  • Beneficial to the Customers– Consumer-generated marketing is changing the way companies approach and acquire customers. It’s not just beneficial for the company but also the consumers. Since user-generated content heavily depends on product quality and customer service, for customer-generated marketing to work, brands must provide stellar products and customer experience

Drawbacks of Consumer-Generated Marketing

While the advantages of consumer-generated marketing outweigh the disadvantages, one must be mindful of them before venturing too wholeheartedly into consumer-generated marketing.

  • Lack of Control over Content – The major drawback of user-generated content is that, as a brand, you have no control over the content that is churned out. The compliance team has restrictions that need to be followed when it comes to content, and not every negative comment or review can be edited or omitted.
  • Chances of being Negatively Influenced by Netizens’ Chatter – It is important that you remain rational while managing and leveraging user-generated content. A hasty marketing decision based on a stream of negative reviews can do more harm than good.
  • Requires Constant Monitoring – With user-generated content, someone has to consistently monitor the content published online. The brand needs to be aware of spammers, fake profiles and/or reviews planted by competitors, and generic consumer activity, to make the best of consumer-generated content.

Who Uses Consumer-Generated Marketing and Who Responds to it?

In this tech-savvy world, the ‘Who’ isn’t restricted to any particular brand or product category. Consumer-generated content can be adopted by businesses of all sizes and across product categories. It is more beneficial for start-ups, small and medium-sized companies since they have limited capital and cannot afford massive advertising campaigns.

Larger corporations and well-known brands like Coca-Cola and Apple are also harnessing the power of consumer-generated marketing now through their innovative campaigns. Non-profit organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and Charity: Water have successfully leveraged consumer-generated content to promote their cause.
The response to these campaigns is generated by internet-savvy users (and the netizens as mentioned above). Social media influencers and bloggers also give momentum to these campaigns and make the content or campaign viral.
Potential consumers are always scouting for online reviews before they make their purchase. Consumer-generated marketing can greatly influence buying behavior and help in making an informed purchase.

Best Practices for Consumer-Generated Marketing

Managing user-generated content and using it to your advantage requires tact and ethics. Here are some practices and tips that will help you make the most of user-generated content while maintaining integrity.

  • Give Clear Guidelines and Instructions – Irrelevant data isn’t useful to your marketing strategy. To generate relevant and valuable data, set clear guidelines and give ample instructions to your customers.
  • Request Permission – It’s an ethical practice to request permission from a user before you repost or repurpose their content.
  • Incentivize the Customer – A great way to motivate your customers to create content is to reward their efforts. You could offer coupons, vouchers, or a virtual shout-out, even repost their content on your official page as an enticement.

Marketing your brand through user-generated content can be highly lucrative. Connect with team Annex Cloud to know about the best practices and how you can design a bespoke consumer-generated marketing campaign for your brand.


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