An ever-growing and significant part of the world’s population is now increasingly getting rid of their radios and their TV sets, supplanting them with the (by now ubiquitous) smart communication devices. The main reason behind this rapid change is not just the fact that the end user can easily gain access to a whole universe of information at the swipe of a finger, they at the same time get to access various views and news regarding products that they may be interested in purchasing.
Such opinions are regularly expressed and shared on social media platforms, which makes any individual looking to by a certain product, to reach for their smart device and search for these posted opinions as part of their research.
In other words, they will be far more willing to trust the reviews that they find on social media. This is due to the fact they think that they are a whole lot more ‘authentic’ than any other sort or form of paid advertisements.
o Paid content vs unpaid reviews in the era of smart technology
It is very important to understand that ultimately, advertising is precisely that; ‘paid content’, Created for the express purpose of luring potential customers into the ‘marketing funnel’ till they become a buyer. This is something that today’s (4G capable) smartphone toting, market savvy customers know only too well, and this is indeed why the reviews written by a prospective customer’s fellow peers will have far more weight when they want to make an important buying decision.
Add to that the fact that there is almost always an innate element of near-total honesty, at least as far as various social media reviews and views are concerned. And of course, there is sound reasoning behind it. After all, the people posting on social media are doing so for purely their own sense of responsibility and most of them are not paid reviews. Even when some of them are atual paid reviews they easily stand apart from the rest. Especially if it is the only one positively speaking about a product that has been all but roundly rejected by everyone else. This is why it is considered so easy to be able to gauge the exact level of quality and service overall,that the product and its manufacturers may well have.
Of course, all of this would not have been possible to do before the advent of smartphones and other similar devices. Very few people had the time and inclination of writing reviews on their PCs and laptops. But swiping one’s finger over a review during lunch hour is now a bit of a national pastime, these days. The era of really fast and inexpensive internet connections along with the development of a whole plethora of apps and platforms effectively means that marketing has become not just a more challenging, but at the same time, a really rewarding enterprise.
additionaly it is now considerably easier to get one’s messages across to the target audience with minimum hassle. As a matter of fact, any reasonably good review can as of today, quite effectively spread a whole lot faster than any sort of ATL (‘above the line’ or mainstream media related activities) or BTL (‘below the line’ or individually targeted marketing activities) can ever possibly do. This can actually happen at no cost to the manufacturing company whatsoever.
Let us say for instance, that if a sports store has a certain brand of a highly anticipated baseball bat in stock, the owner of the store will know that thanks to smart technology;the news has the potential of going viral and soon everyone will know about it within a mere few hours. This is because the news will travel from SF to NY in far less time than if the store paid an ad agency to run advertisements for him. When that happens, people will purchase and review the products, free of charge. Such reviews will be considered to be even more dependable than any paid advertisement because no one has been paid to write them and they are the actual honest opinions of the individuals who are posting them online.
The reliability of such a review cannot really be compared to a real-world advertisement per se, since the odds are that there will always be an element of skepticism when it comes to critically evaluating the latter, while the former will obviously suffer from no such liabilities.
o Issues with smart technology and its implementation
However, smart technology is a double-edged sword. Should the product be faulty in any way, it will be lambasted on multiple social media platforms simultaneously. And even if the manufacturer were to try and remove the offending posts from any SM platform where the product’s page or handle exists, he will only be making a bad situation potentially worse. The screenshots of the bad review will be posted and reposted (or tweeted and retweeted, as the case may be) and by trying to hide any defects, the owner of the product will only end up making a bad situation a whole lot worse. The fact that just about everyone has a smartphone and can take screenshots within a second or two means that the manufacturers will end up losing their credibility, altogether.
In light of the above discussion, we can safely conclude that smart technology is not only here to stay, but it actually has the potential to effectively revolutionize all other marketing and media channels that are currently available today.