Yelp, TripAdvisor and other review sites are making huge waves in the markets for local business, hotels, and other consumer products. It’s clear that this online review revolution is expanding from the consumer world to the business world. In a recent article in InformationWeek entitled “Yelp Ratings To Hit B2B Companies: Are You Ready?” David Nour, an enterprise social strategist and thought leader on Relationship Economics , provides the following analysis:
…the experience rating is headed for the corporate world. Today, business professionals in a variety of industries, such as healthcare providers, law firms, and architects, are being rated and discussed online by the businesses consuming their products or services. And those discussions are influencing engagement and buying decisions by other prospective clients for increasing amounts of both short-term transaction dollars and long-tail reputation capital.
…I’ve identified 10 unique psychographics–in essence digital buying habits. Think of these as unique buying patterns individuals go through when making buying decisions online. For example, what they read, what they consider of value, what influences their thinking and call to action. Past buyers of your products and services have a very distinct motivation, use distinct taxonomies, and prescribe to a different buying process than other types of buyers, such as FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) buyers or educated buyers. For example:
— Price/Discount/Value Buyer seeks to maximize value for the investment of time, effort, and resources; is motivated by perceptions of bargains and uses discount, free, low-, and no-cost taxonomy; uses a general buying process of online value search followed by evaluations from multiple sites offering similar value; uncovers most favorable bargains in comparative sites.
— Expert/Educated Buyer seeks to be informed and make a deliberate next step in a logical process; is motivated by facts and value; uses fact-finding taxonomy; uses a general buying process of online product search followed by a “pain search” (where specific search language is used to address a challenge) in blogs and forums; uncovers most credible information from forum readership.
Only when you understand the online behaviors of your target audiences can you align that which they need (versus want) with the value that you bring to improve their conditions. Beyond the value that you can add, it is critical that you change the lens to focus on the value that is being perceived, received, applied, and impacted. How are they better off because of your products or services? That outcome is the only thing that matters, and unfortunately, organizations that lose sight of that critical point get berated on experience-rating sites such as Yelp.
This sounds like good advice for vendors to ensure that they come out looking best on a tech product review site such as IT Central Station.