User-generated con­tent and word of mouth mar­ket­ing pro­vide a new oppor­tu­nity to inte­grate with ana­lyt­ics and demon­strate value. What are the unique chal­lenges of UGC and WOM?I’m a big fan of John Hagel’s blog “Edgeper­spec­tives.” Some of the con­cepts he advances are par­tic­u­larly per­ti­nent here, espe­cially with respect to com­pa­nies’ need to “adapt or per­ish…” The world of UGC and WOM is really about col­lab­o­ra­tive mar­ket­ing — embrac­ing your cus­tomers’ per­cep­tion that THEY own your rela­tion­ship with them. This is a sig­nif­i­cant hur­dle for tra­di­tional mar­keters to over­come.There is no “I” in adapt. Con­ven­tional mar­ket­ing attempts to:

  • Inter­cept: tar­get and expose cus­tomers to your mes­sage wher­ever you can find them
  • Inhibit: make it as dif­fi­cult as pos­si­ble for the cus­tomer to com­pare your prod­uct or ser­vice offer­ing with any other options
  • Iso­late: enter into a direct rela­tion­ship with the cus­tomer and, wher­ever pos­si­ble , remove all third par­ties from the relationship

There are “A’s” however.

  • Attract: cre­ate incen­tives for peo­ple to seek you out
  • Assist: one of the most pow­er­ful ways to attract peo­ple is to be as help­ful and engag­ing with them as possible
  • Affil­i­ate: mobi­lize third par­ties, includ­ing other cus­tomers, to become even more help­ful to the peo­ple you inter­act with
  • Ana­lyze: as you are embark­ing on these new strate­gies it’s crit­i­cal to have a com­pass. Ana­lyt­ics pro­vides the crit­i­cal insight needed into what’s work­ing, what isn’t and where to optimize.

Put your­self in the shoes of the VP of eCom­merce at a retailer that uses both UGC, WOM such as Rank­ing & Reviews and Omni­ture. What should be your top pri­or­i­ties, and why? What KPIs should you be mon­i­tor­ing reg­u­larly?I would first ensure that your UGC/WOM tech­nolo­gies are inte­grated via Omni­ture Gen­e­sis so that the busi­ness has clear vis­i­bil­ity into strat­egy per­for­mance. There are many areas that one could focus their time, but if I were the VP of eCom­merce, the two opti­miza­tion pri­or­i­ties I’d focus on from the word “Go!” are:Pop­u­lar­ity Opti­miza­tion: Iden­tify the con­trib­u­tors as well as the UGC that attracts the largest audi­ence. The KPIs to keep a close eye on here include: num­ber of views, repeat fre­quency and time spent on the site.Influ­ence Opti­miza­tion: Pop­u­lar­ity is great, but it’s also good to under­stand the influ­ence that spe­cific con­trib­u­tors and con­tent have on dri­ving suc­cess. KPIs for the eCom­merce VP here should be order par­tic­i­pa­tion, and rev­enue par­tic­i­pa­tion. What they may quickly learn is that one contributor’s reviews are more pop­u­lar, but may gen­er­ate fewer orders and rev­enue than a less pop­u­lar con­trib­u­tor. They should craft strate­gies to bet­ter lever­age influ­en­tial contributors.Imagine our VP of eCom­merce again – she launches a cam­paign that achieves 6% con­ver­sion. Great she thinks! Yawn. What about the other 94%?!! How can she go after those that responded but didn’t con­vert and iden­tify more rev­enue oppor­tu­nity? Through Gen­e­sis, the process to remar­ket to the 94% of non-converters with a tar­geted email are auto­mated and this could include adding rel­e­vant prod­uct offers com­plete with UGC/WOM, Rat­ings and Reviews.