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Let’s face it – customers are the best marketers

By Scott Anderson , Tuesday, January 9, 2018

“Did you know that 10 minutes of jumping on a #trampoline is equal to a 30 minute run? Get outside and jump.” That quote is from a Springfree trampoline owner who goes on to hail, “Hooray for active play!” This excited Springfree customer is not alone. There are many more such social media posts on Springfree’s website, with captivating photos of children having the times of their lives.

It’s all part of Springfree’s marketing strategy. “Customer photos are like visual reviews,” says Saugar Sainju, Director of E-Commerce at Springfree. “Many of our sales are a result of people seeing the trampolines that their friends, family or neighbors have. We find that images submitted by real customers are much more trustworthy and influential in the purchasing process than written content.”  Springfree is not alone in curating user-generated content (UGC) to heighten the authenticity of their message. Big brands like Ford, Disney, McDonald’s, and Jimmy Choo are doing it, too.

In a world gone social, 92 percent of consumers trust earned media, like UGC, more than any form of advertising. As 81 percent of consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by social media posts; and consumers, on average, rely on 2.9 sources of information during the buying process, it seems like a good idea to promote UGC as one of those sources.

UGC is important because it’s authentic—it’s like-minded individuals sharing their experiences about a product or brand that others may be considering. Unlike the positive light that marketers shine onto the products they represent, consumers have different incentives. When people share social posts, it’s not to help “create awareness” or “build a brand.” Rather, customers just want to share their stories, good or bad. That’s why consumer voices carry so much more value for others who are considering a purchase. For marketers, consumers’ compelling stories about their brands is pure gold.

The hard part is the sheer volume of content. People share 1.3 million pieces of content per minute on Facebook and upload 85 million videos and photos to Instagram each day. With that daunting mass of user-generated content, how can a marketer identify the exact right content and then pass it into a fully personalized experience for each individual exactly when they are ready to buy? Until now, you’d be hard-pressed to do so because the right solutions weren’t in place to enable it. 

A UGC platform, like Stackla, allows you to search across the social web to identify those stories that matter most for your brand; and an experience management platform, like Sitecore, enables personalized experiences at scale. Today, Sitecore and Stackla have teamed up to form a solution that enables digital marketers to create unparalleled authentic and individualized customer experiences. 

Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer at The Travel Corporation, is leading his industry in personalizing UGC. According to Dan, “UGC and personalization are incredibly powerful tools on their own, but the combination of Sitecore and Stackla together will give our brands the ability to provide highly relevant and personalized experiences to every customer throughout the research and booking experience.”

Where Dan is going, other marketers are sure to follow. Customers no longer simply receive information, they now require a voice in the process. This is an approach all marketers should be embracing, since customers’ personal stories are far more interesting than anything created from the corporate office.

Learn how you can deliver personalized, user-generated content experiences at scale using Stackla for Sitecore.

 

Scott Anderson is CMO at Sitecore. Follow him on Twitter @ScottsVoice.

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