Marketing without reviews doesn't work: data and common sense say so

Aleš Randa

3 min

Reviews rule modern marketing, yet they can be forgotten when planning campaigns. Some businesses do this deliberately, thinking that their marketing is different, differently focused, or that they are already famous enough. Yet research shows that no one trusts ads without reviews and they are more likely to harm the brand and deprive it of conversions. And that's a shame, don't you think?

Every ad in the marketplace has three main goals

And that is:

  • To inform about the brand and its offerings
  • To convince the customer to buy or take some other action
  • To remind and reinforce the brand image

To achieve its goals, the campaign needs a solid foundation: the client's trust

Unfortunately, companies like to ignore this fact. They prefer to invest immediately in expensive marketing teams, employ large numbers of copywriters or other specialists and create lots of slogans, videos, banners and social media posts. They promise themselves quick success and impatiently waiting for results. But it may not come.

Traditional advertising is not a way to gain trust, it's a waste of money

We know this through research and common sense.

  • According to surveys by the prestigious 4A's, the association of American marketing agencies, only 4% of respondents trust advertising. That means an overwhelming 96% of people don't believe anything you're trying to tell them. Instead, they think you're fooling them, tricking them or outright scamming them.
  • Customers have recently been let down by virtually every major brand. Facebook has compromised their privacy, Netflix, Yahoo and Amazon have been data-grabbing and weren't afraid to look into personal conversations. Volkswagen cheated on emissions, Uber shamelessly hiked prices during a snowstorm, Matell sold dangerous toys. Brand trust suffered.
  • Clients' distrust of marketing makes sense even on casual reflection. The average mortal being is exposed to between four and ten thousand advertisements a day. It's natural that he or she quickly becomes numb to such quantity and does not pay attention to it.

How to solve the trust problem? Let real people talk, without the glitz

Even though people don't want to hear about ads, they still trust each other up to 75% of the time. When you're looking for a new car, you ask an enthusiast friend. A vacuum cleaner is recommended by a friend, a protein trainer at the gym, a dietary supplement by a friend at the pharmacy.

In short, people need a good review. And they're not alone. The opinion of others influences purchasing decisions 90% of the time.

72% of customers trust a brand with positive reviews, even if it's the first time they've heard of it

Online reviews speak the language of the customer, highlight only the essentials, are organic and as informative as possible. Clients immediately know where you stand out from your competitors, what to consider and why not to hesitate to buy.

Brands benefit from this

  • 84% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Reviews displayed on a conversion page increase sales by 62%.
  • Even a negative review will boost sales by up to 45%.
  • Reviews are noticed by search engines and move you up the search ranks accordingly.

Reviews are not just a competitive advantage, but the foundation of any campaign

You simply can't make it without reviews. Would you eat at a restaurant that didn't even have one star? Neither would we. It's the same with selling any other service or product.

In order for a current client to even consider you as an alternative, they need to read at least 10 positive reviews. And no amount of sales copy, subversive marketing or Don Draper will change that.

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