A customer review can produce one point of data relevant to a product. A statistically representative number of customer reviews of the same product can produce a much better quality of a single data point relevant to that product. It is a very good start, but it is still just a single point of data-CSI, CSAT, NPS, etc., depending on the methodology used to collect this data. So what is the value of this point of data? Apparently it is quite significant when used for marketing as people do pay attention to the recommendations of their “peers” or “influence-rs”. Online retailers know that conversion from visit to purchase is much higher for products that have a significant number of relatively positive reviews, and that is why they invest in collecting and managing access to these reviews. The value of this data for a product manufacturer varies from industry to industry.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a presentation by Munjal Shah, the CEO of Like.com and one of his slides really made me think.
In other words data itself is not actionable. Consider the actions a marketing product manager can take based on the data that their product ABC has a low satisfaction score. I can’t think of any other action than to learn more, i.e. to discover more data. Presumably information is created when our marketing product manager (or product marketing manager) compares ABC’s product satisfaction score with the one of a competing product, hence comparison of two points produce information, i.e. higher value.
Correlating the information produced by tracking these two data points over time with sales numbers can create knowledge – “product with an inferior reputation tends to undersell its competition by X%, when sold at competitive (i.e. similar) price”. Now, this is an actionable piece of knowledge as our MP/PM manager can attempt to discount the ABC product to stimulate sales or attempt to improve the customer’s opinion about it.
I already wrote that most CE Marketing Product managers (area of my focus) do not think that they can actively manage a reputation of a product released into the field. However this belief is not based on any wisdom, empirical knowledge, or current data. It is based on the experience of working with traditional tools in an archaic (pre-social media) market environment. The availability of customer feedback about their experience with a product, combined with modern tools, capable to extract actionable knowledge, enable organizations to create causation “pro-active product reputation management produces higher profitability than price discounting and defensive advertising”.