According to the February 2008 issue of Entrepreneur magazine "product reviews play a big role in consumers' decisions on what to buy" and the piece goes on to provide the following figures:
- 62% of consumers read consumer-written product reviews online
- over 80% say their purchase decisions have been influenced by reviews
- 70% of shoppers share product reviews with their friends, family or colleagues
My take is that this is nothing new: consumers have always been sharing good tips, but owing to the Internet this is only beginning to emerge as a quantifiable phenomenon that attracts the attention of marketeers who are facing the impossible task of capturing human attention in an ever more cluttered media landscape. The interesting question though is this: aside from facilitating consumer expression can marketing pros whether working for advertisers or for agencies exploit the phenomenon to make the brands they serve more successful? And as a corollary I wonder whether the value lies in the technology that facilitates the recommendations or in the human interactions that can help understand better and record a large set of subjective experiences with a given product.