Path-breaking sales are generated when two things are in play. Love for your brand, and trust worthiness of your product. So what are the pre-qualifying factors that lead your customers down this path? At the time of decision making, these 3 R’s play a big role on your consumer’s psyche:
1) Recommendations: Are essentially ‘transference of trust’. Merriam Webster defines it as, “the act of saying that someone or something is good, and deserves to be chosen.” So once you’ve had a positive experience you are more likely to vouch for that yourself.
With every sensory experience we encounter with a brand, it tallies up towards the overall perception of that brand, and the future likelihood of it being recommended to others.
We’ve all had a first-hand experience with recommendations at different stages of our lives:
- Whether it was in the form of an ex-boss talking to you about an exciting opportunity at his new firm
- Staying away from a restaurant because your partner had a terrible service there
- Going with your friend’s personal experience while choosing a daycare for your child
It’s this interdependency and reliability quotient that comes forth when choosing a product/ service based on the power of a recommendation!
2) Reviews: Consumer awareness is at its all time high. The findings of Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that approximately 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A Siegel+Gale report shows a direct correlation between higher consumer awareness to 31% greater revenue growth for 10 most-known B2B brands. It all goes to prove that people today like to make educated choices when it comes to investing their money or their resources.
Every comparable B2B or B2C product or service goes through a lens of closer scrutiny and quality check in the form of online reviews. Consumer opinions are highly valued and play a dominant role in influencing future buyers.
As an online shopper myself, I tend to gravitate towards those products that have received a multitude of online reviews versus the ones that do not have any reviews listed. I attribute this to the power of crowdsourcing!
3) Ratings: Ratings reflect a quantifiable benchmark of what’s considered as superior quality compared to the sub par products.
Porter Novelli’s ConsumerStyles report finds that 60% of Millenials and 56% of Gen Xers are more likely to rate items they like than those they don’t like. So getting the product right is the foundation of great ratings.
In our day-to-day lives every decision we take is influenced by how everything is rated and ranked around us:
- Health regulations – Influencing our personal care and household products we use
- Consumer reports safety standards – Key decision making tool for buying your next SUV
- Movie Ratings- Dictates appropriateness of which movie to watch with your kids
- Performance evaluation at work – Determines your bonus package and promotion eligibility for the next quarter
So while we live in a consumerist society where every choice and decision is subliminally influenced by a recommendation, review or rating, its the collective power of customer advocacy that can ultimately make or break your product and its direct impact on your bottom-line!
I’d love to hear what influences your choices and decisions?
Photo by Christopher Dombres
Halloween just came and went and now we are left with barely two months before this year vanishes. While the kids must be totally charged and living the moment dressed up in creative costumes and high on candy, you can’t help wonder in retrospect where did the past ten months go? Did life treat me well, or was I tricked into making hasty and regretful choices?
I’m sure most of us must have started 2011 with high hopes, eager anticipation and maybe even wrote down a few constructive goals to accomplish this year. There is always something exciting and adventurous about starting a new year wondering what it might hold for us as individuals. It’s like the creative and colorful imagination of a six year old who tries to figure out what am I going to dress up as, and who am I going to be this Halloween?
For some, I bet this year turned out just as well as they imagined and had planned for it. So kudos to that! For others their path may have been a bit circuitous, you take a slight detour as life throws you a curveball, and we get reeled into a slightly different path than what we started off with.
Our goals and expectations from life may be myriad ranging from finding a good job, to going back to school for an advanced degree, or saving up for the dream house, running a marathon, or perhaps losing the last 10 stubborn lbs! We all choose our own life path that’s relevant and important to us. At some junction of our lives we all get cornered to make a choice that might intimidate or overwhelm us. For some that might mean shedding back a bit of ourselves, or chasing other goals that may have taken over as our new priorities.
Kung Fu Panda 2 knocked it off the ballpark for me this Memorial Day weekend. I typically don’t write movie reviews but this one inspired me to write about it today. The salience in product marketing is all about understanding your customer’s mindset, catering to their appeals, packaging to their needs and presenting it in the most attractive way possible for a successful outcome.
This movie reminded me that the success to consumer acceptance, product saleability and ultimate bottom-line lies in finding the pulse of your audience and honing your efforts in that direction. Now that requires a play of ingredients that need to be added just in the right proportion to make it click. Kung Fu Panda 2 seems to have gotten that recipe right. Packaged optimally in a span of 90 minutes this movie displays a colorful canvas of comedy, adventure and drama all wrapped in one. The animation is visually spectacular with an amazing eye to detail in every character’s emoticons, their colorful attires and even the aura each of the characters bring to the screen with the use of voice-overs and background music.
The PG rated movie eloquently depicts spirituality with central message about ‘finding your inner peace’ tied in with the yin and yang iconism throughout the movie. It has brilliant comic timing tied in with action sequences centered on the protagonist Panda ‘Po’. There is the underlying reflection of the cultural nuances tied in with one’s heritage and ancestry, and a sense of adventure, thrill ride and triumph, by gaining mastery over your weaknesses, in this case by using Kung Fu! All these elements are wonderfully threaded together using the ancient art of story telling and narration creating a mental vacation for the viewers.
As humans, we all connect and relate with each other through our life experiences and the stories we share with one another. This movie (I think) has that cross-generational and cross-cultural appeal that is not just a visual entertainer but also one that has a wonderful moral attached to it. One that reminds us to elevate towards our full potential no matter where we come from, by ultimately finding our inner peace. Who knew a big furry panda, a tigress, a monkey, a crane, a snake and a mantis could possibly teach us that. Its true when they say movie making is truly a magical experience! Let me know what you thought of the movie when you see it!
I first wrote this blog post for the Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) group while contracting at SAS. They have been gracious yet again, in letting me repost it here.
One unique trait of us as humans is our resilience and creativity in the face of adversity. Our ability to think creatively towards a solution is challenged the most during extraordinary times. This ability comes from our instinctual survival techniques right from our Stone Age that has taught us to not just to survive but thrive over the centuries.
Different factors such as the environment, economy and society have gone through several cycles of change raising with it our stakes to discover, improvise and reinvent ourselves with the times. Changing times have given rise to changing needs – giving birth to new opportunities for growth and development, on a personal level as well as a sociological level.
Today, we live in a technology-driven society that dictates how we interact, communicate and do business with each other. We have all become creatures of modern comfort in a gadget-friendly world allowing us to fulfill our different needs and aimed at making our lives easier. However, on a fundamental level our primary needs have always been centered on survival and sustenance.
That got me thinking about what skills are needed to thrive and sustain in today’s modern workforce? I reached out to a few of the thought leaders while at SAS to seek their advice and opinion. I was looking forward to hearing what they had to say coming from different backgrounds, sensibilities and with over 140 years of collective experience! What I learnt in return was both surprising and delightful. Sharing their collective revelations below:
Adele Sweetwood – Vice President, Americas Marketing - The one skill would be communication – all forms, verbal, written, presentation… With the right communication, you will enable all aspects of growth and leadership. If you were to ask me about the one ‘trait’, I would say, authenticity. People respond positively when you are genuine.
Diana Levey – Marketing Director, JMP - You need to be flexible. Whether you’re at home or in the office, things seldom go as planned. So being able to change on a dime without getting flustered or having your nose out of joint is about as important a trait or skill as I know of.
Jenn Mann – Vice President, Human Resources - Regardless of your industry, it is important to not only be competent in your area, but to have the right attitude. Talent is not enough! Attitudes have the power to lift up or tear down a team. The right attitude also could refer to a “positive attitude”. What I mean by the right attitude is:
- Willingness to admit mistakes
- Seeing strengths in others and nurturing those strengths
- Not taking yourself too seriously
- Living life with some humility
- Having a “can do” attitude
Paul Kent – Vice President, Platform Research and Development - Be useful! You have to combine your technical skills with your sensory ones. Identify an area this is being underserved and apply yourself to it. (Cheerfully is always a good modifier). Your peers and hopefully your boss too, will recognize you for this. The harder question is how does one learn/practice/polish their “useful bone”…that’s usually called work-experience!
Radhika Kulkarni – Vice President, Advanced Analytics - Communication is a very important skill in all careers. Listen to all the input and be open to all the feedback given to you. Learn to articulate your message in a language that is understood by your audience. This is especially important when you work in a cross-functional team with diverse skills where everyone contributes one piece of a larger picture.
Scott VanValkenburgh – Senior Director, Alliances - Empathy. It may sound a bit strange, but empathy towards your own life, its limits and possibilities and empathy towards others. This helps bring perspective, balance and understanding in both your personal and professional relationships. Today, the need and positive effect of human interaction and connection is at an all-time high, and unless you have empathy, one’s career and life will fall short of its full potential.
Suzanne Gordon – Chief Information Officer and Vice President of IT - If you are a ‘manager’ I would say, it’s building an atmosphere of trust where collaboration can happen easily and swiftly. You need to listen to the people that work for you, you need to encourage them to work out issues amongst themselves and not run to you with problems. You need to support and trust them and hire good people! If you are an ‘individual contributor’ I would say its persistence, not giving up if you have a good idea.
Suzanne sums it best for us by sharing this quote, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather
Did their advice resonate with you? Can you think of any other skill you believe is vital to thrive and sustain in today’s economy? Let’s hear it.
Photo by country_boy_shane
I first wrote this blog post for the Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) group at SAS. They have been gracious in letting me repost it here.
I believe that no matter where you are in your career path – beginner, experienced or advanced – it’s important to stay on your toes and nurture the quality of being naturally curious. As humans we all are born with this innate capability of curiosity. As children this quality is further pronounced as we try to engage with and explore the world around us. It’s through this formative emotion that represents a drive to investigate, understand, and learn new things while we go through life and experience things for the first time.
At every stage of our life, we all experience moments that are new and novel to us that require sense making. We attempt to tread that and learn about it in many ways, one of which we’ve all done as children – ask questions! Asking questions and quenching that curiosity centered on a new thing has been an age old tradition that we’ve all graduated from one stage to another as children to adults. It has helped us discover, challenge and stimulate our intellectual curiosity as we mature through the years.
Even through our vocational life, it’s equally important that we try to retain that quality that keeps the learning alive and informational interviews are a great way to achieve that. We all are gifted with the abundance of collective intelligence and knowledge bank gained from our existing network of smart, intelligent and experienced peers and seniors. Each one of us brings something unique to the table based on our background, skills and cultural sensibilities. So why not tap into that collective intelligence of your network to extend and strengthen your vocational learning?
Whether you are out there seeking your first break and trying to get a leg in after college, thinking of transitioning and making a complete career switch from one field to another or vying for the success ladder to get a promotion in your existing job, informational interviews can be a useful medium to help achieve that.
Important considerations – Although I address these types of meetings as ‘interviews’ there is a stark difference in these types of interviews with regular ‘job interviews’ and hence should be treated differently. The focus of this interview should be:
- Treat it as an opportunity for self-discovery and self-assessment
- Ask relevant questions centered on that person’s career, company and profession
Explore the career opportunities that lie within
Use it as an avenue to find your motivation and inspiration seeking advice from someone you admire
To network and build on a new contact
Overall, really treat it as a learning ground to prepare, improve and build on your skills, qualifications and profession
The most important differentiator being, do not treat this opportunity as a back-door entry to a job. Don’t go blatantly seeking a job, it can potentially put-off your interviewee and might result in cutting short your interview time, where you could’ve spent all that time asking great questions and getting to know your contact better!
Keep an open mind, respect their time and always walk away thanking your contact for their time and advice.
If done right, you would’ve walked away not only having made a new contact, but someone who could potentially be your mentor down the road, with continued interaction
In addition to acquiring the standard job interviews, seeking the right informational interviews and having the ability to conduct these tactfully will in many ways catapult you and your career in the right direction. So don’t be afraid to ask questions and share that knowledge with your network. Wouldn’t you agree?
Photo by ankakay