The Data Digest: When Do Consumers Use Reviews and Ratings?

In July 2010, we posted a Data Digest that shows that almost half of US online males and 42% of online females read consumer ratings and reviews at least monthly. Well, what types of decisions are reviews helping these consumers to make?

Our Technographics® data shows that, as most would expect, more than half of the consumers who check ratings and reviews use them to help make more complex decisions such as a car, TV, or refrigerator. However, these are not the only types of decisions consumers are looking to reviews for — in fact, most check reviews to help with a variety of decisions — from entertainment decisions to making purchases for their jobs.

When we look at this data by generation, it is no surprise that Gen Yers are more likely to use online reviews across most of the decision types that we ask about compared to the overall US population. What is interesting is how dependent they are on online reviews when it comes to entertainment choices (44%) and purchasing ongoing services (41%). And although young consumers lead with using ratings and reviews, it is interesting to see that Seniors that are using ratings and reviews show similar behaviors compated to the total US population for most categories -- apart from the job related one.

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Recognize When Technology Can Raise The Bar Of Customer Engagement

CMOs need to be orchestrating the brand experience across channels, departments, and the customer life cycle, but it can be hard to keep up with emerging technologies that can enable significant improvements in how your firm engages customers. To help you do this, I've started a series of reports for B2B CMOs and marketing leaders to highlight technologies that they should have on their radar over the next 12 to 18 months.

We select technologies that meet the following criteria: 1) The technology can improve how companies engage prospects and customers at one or more points in the customer life cycle; 2) it is easy for the business to implement; 3) enterprise-scale companies have started to use it; and 4) it does not have enough hype to be on everyone’s radar.

The first installment focuses on four emerging technologies:

  • Online content curation to build thought leadership and authority relationships.
  • Listening platforms to monitor brand sentiment and gain customer insight.
  • Brand advocate platforms to energize word of mouth (WOM).
  • Appointment scheduling applications to engage people ready to buy.

Learn more about what these are and why they are important by reading the new report, "Emerging Technologies B2B CMOs Should Watch In 2011." And let me know about other emerging technologies you'd like to see profiled in the future or about experiences with these platforms.