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Posts Tagged ‘Customer reviews’

 How Search Works With Social CRM

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

From Media Post

by Laurie Sullivan,

Search technology: Some companies will license it, while others build it from scratch. It depends on the egos of executives working at the company. Real-time search and social media have pushed technology to the forefront. Companies need sophisticated algorithms that can sort and index structured and unstructured data.

A recent Accenture report titled “Social CRM: The New Frontier of Marketing, Sales and Service” ties it all together. Joe Hughes, senior executive from Accenture’s customer service and support business, confirms that enterprise companies have begun to build search engine technology that will integrate into software applications and consumer hardware to help marketers, advertisers, agencies and others sort through the mounds of data created by social media.

Hughes defines social CRM as the conversation data from social media networks. And as marketers continue to try and make sense of the mounds of data flooding in from real-time search, Twitter streams, Facebook status updates, and behavioral targeting tags, they will need a faster method to sort, index and access data. Wow, are you overwhelmed yet?

Marketers need technology that can move feedback from customers and call center agents between channels with as much automation as possible. That will become the only way to analyze the data. Natural language query processing will also become a focus, to search through documents of unstructured and structured data as the mounds of social media data continues to mount.

Last year, tools measuring buzz metrics in social networks emerged. This year, the focus turns toward integrating the social data into traditional CRM platforms from companies like software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Salesforce, which late last year integrated the feature, allowing people to search on that data in real time.

Until now, CRM packages did not allow marketers to view data collected on Twitter alongside traditional queries. But the real-time search movement has sent companies looking to improve search results back to the drawing board to build engines that can process structured and unstructured data, as well as sentiment analysis, taxonomy, classification and entity extractions, according to Hughes. “The strategy of combining structured and unstructured data will become more important,” he tells me.

Read the rest of the article here:

 Reviews Roll In As Sites Add Video

Monday, January 14th, 2008

News Analysis: Reviews Roll In As Sites Add Video

Amazon, Orvis, PetCo jump on next wave of customer feedback.
January 14, 2008
By Kenneth Hein

The written word may be powerful, but video is mightier still, and there’s the rub for marketers.

As Amazon, Orvis and PetCo encourage consumers to upload video reviews, the marketers give the public a dynamic tool to tout or trash products.

Before a fan plunks down $69.95 for the Hasbro Star Wars Darth Vader Voice Changer, for example, they may want to watch the video review posted by Gregory J. Daniel on “This is an example of what the Darth Vader helmet will sound like when you make the mistake of buying it. Don’t I sound just like Darth? Can you even hear his voice, or is it just like a droning in the background.”

Amazon has no issue with such reviews. “Written reviews have been tremendously successful, but when you can actually see the item in action all the writing in the world [can't compare],” said Colin Bodell, vp,, Seattle, which added video in November. “We want to deliver a richer shopping experience and give them as much information as possible so it will lead to a more satisfying shopping experience.”

While a video review for a book may not be necessary, Bodell said they were particularly helpful for new toys like the latest Tickle Me Elmo or complicated consumer electronics devices.

For Orvis, a video of a customer catching a trophy fish using its Zero G Saltwater 909-4 fly rod speaks volumes. “It’s another reason for people to come to our site,” says Brad Wolansky, vp-eCommerce for the Sunderland, Vt., firm. “They want to engage with us and brag about their fish. Of course, we like to see them stay on our site longer—we like video for all those reasons. We also like the fact that it can make a customer feel good about their purchase decision. That’s the root of customer reviews, making them feel more secure.” Orvis added video in August.

Video consumer reviews are still new, very new. They make up only a small fraction of Amazon and Orvis reviews. But, this is expected to change quickly as more consumers embrace video and more marketers offer reviews on their sites (See “New Ideas,” page 10). Video phones and the simplicity of some of today’s desktop applications make creating video “less of an event,” said Marc Karasu, president of, New York. Karasu left his post as vp-marketing of to quarterback The site encourages consumers to sound off about good and bad products and customer service. Next month, the site is relaunching with video capabilities.

Video is a natural for consumers under 30, as they are heavy users of such sites as YouTube, he said. Video can be powerful “if you are shooting secret footage of an outrageous customer service experience,” Karasu said. However, “if it’s someone standing front of a store talking about what happened,” not so much.

Video is currently only about 1% of all reviews, according to Sam Decker, CMO of Bazaarvoice, the ratings and reviews service that created Orvis and PetCo’s consumer review section, based in Austin, Texas. However, Web sites can leverage this small pool of video reviews for a larger impact. Sections can be created showing the top-10 video reviews. Consumers can also be connected directly to the videos via e-mail links and RSS feeds.

In this respect videos not only offer a valuable opinion, but also entertainment value. “We’ve had other people linking to our site to watch the videos, there is always that entertainment opportunity,” said Bodell. “We look forward to more content as it gets easier to put video up there. It will also be better produced once the technology gets better and high-speed connections continue to become more prevalent. People will find creative ways of using it that we haven’t even envisioned yet.” Authors reading chapters of their books and explanations behind their writing is starting to appear on Amazon. Brands are also invited to post product demonstrations, as well, said Bodell. However, “they can’t be blatant advertisements,” he said. “They can buy ad placements.” Amazon weighs each submission based on its value to buyers in aiding their purchase decision.

Does this start to blur the lines of marketing? Probably, said Seth Godin, author of the new book Meatball Sundae. “If it is clearly labeled as to who is producing the video, call them what you want. ‘What is advertising?’ is a question we ask every day.”

Regardless, video is “a logical, predictable next step in the evolution of consumer reviews,” said Godin. Still, there are benefits to the written word. “Video is a lot less casual. You can spend 30 seconds writing a few sentences, video is more of a commitment,” he said. “Plus you can scan a whole page of written reviews, but you’re not going to watch a whole page of videos.”

 Spread the News: Word of Mouth Worth $1 Billion

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Arguably World’s Oldest Form of Marketing Is on the Rise as Advertisers Pour More Into Discipline

Published: November 15, 2007

NEW YORK ( — What’s consumer word-of-mouth advocacy worth to marketers? Try $1 billion.

That’s how much marketers spent on WOM — as it’s known to its practitioners — in 2006, according to an independent research report on the field that will be unveiled during a session at the annual Word-of-Mouth conference in Las Vegas today. The analysis, believed to be first in-depth look at word of mouth, reports that spending on the emerging discipline has increased from $76 million in 2001 to $981 million in 2006 and is expected to grow to approximately $3.7 billion by 2011.

“It’s starting to be recognized as an established industry,” said Leo Kivijarv, Ph.D., VP-research of PQ Media, which performed the analysis.

Meteoric rise
It’s been a meteoric rise of late for word-of-mouth marketing, defined by PQ Media as “supported by research and technology that encourages consumers to dialogue about products and services.” Still, the discipline accounted for just 0.4% of the share in the $254 billion marketing-services category, a grouping that includes direct marketing, branded entertainment and public relations, among others. If PQ Media’s analysis is correct, however, word-of-mouth marketing won’t stay small for long: The field grew 35.9% in 2006, far more than both the overall marketing-services category (7.7%) and the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (5.7%).

Though perhaps the world’s oldest form of transferring messages, word-of-mouth marketing began in earnest in the late 1990s, when brand marketers began grappling with the fragmented media and were actively seeking ways to break through the cluttered landscape. But it has taken off of late due to the industry’s focus on proving it provides a measurable return-on-investment for marketers.

“The new media industry axiom, ‘Only what gets measured gets bought,’ has led to a discernible shift in media spending from traditional to alternative advertising and marketing strategies,” Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media, said in a statement. “The word-of-mouth marketing industry is capitalizing on this trend through its ability to provide ROI to brand marketers in a highly cost-effective platform.”

Research points to effectiveness
Equally important to the success of word-of-mouth marketing may be the research suggesting it is more effective than other forms of advertising. For instance, a recent Nielsen Global Survey of over 26,000 people found that nearly 78% of respondents trusted “recommendations from consumers,” a total 15% higher than the second-most credible source, newspapers. And this trust, according to Mr. Kivijarv, leads to more sales at the cash register.

“When you compare word-of-mouth as a strategy [to other methods], trusting a friend or influential person is the most determining factor when someone decides to purchase a product,” he said.

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