“People don’t care what you say about your products. They want to know what other people say about your products.”
After hearing that message from marketing speaker David Meerman Scott and embarking on a seemingly unrelated search for New York pizza, ClickZ blogger Sage Lewis realized just how much user-generated content dominates his decision-making process.
Looking for a delicious but different pizza experience in a city with hundreds of choices, Lewis started with a search on Google Maps. Rather than clicking on the top search result’s Web site to hear what the company had to say for itself, he zeroed in on a few pizzerias with outstanding comments and reviews. These anonymous reviewers didn’t steer him wrong–he enjoyed an amazing pizza pie and felt like he “discovered” something few others knew.
That’s not all he discovered. He realized that a fundamental change needs to happen with websites–a transformation that not only recognizes the importance of user-generated content, whether in the form of blogs or reviews or wikis, but puts that content front and center. People won’t continue visiting a company’s website if it’s full of marketing lingo rather than meaningful content. What they will do, though, is listen to what their peers, colleagues and other influencers say about that organization.
“If you want to have any relevance in the conversation that is going on about your brand, you would do well giving your prospects some straight-up truth about who you are and what you sell,” Lewis says. Whether you’re selling pizza or pixels or any other product, how can you utilize your user experiences to not only promote but tell the straight-up truth about your brand?