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