Occasionally the Bazaarblog will feature guest bloggers. Today's blog was written and contributed by Matt Hawkins, one of our Marketing Data Analysts dedicated to identifying key trends and actionable insights for clients by analyzing their ratings and reviews data.

As a Marketing Data Analyst, I research and analyze our customer’s data in a way that helps to guide them in the right direction with their products based on what their customers are saying. This concept is not new: listen to the customer and let them help drive the direction of your business. The challenge is how to do so effectively and accurately. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), collecting and analyzing marketing data should “link the consumer, identify opportunities, highlight problems, monitor performance, and improve understanding.” That's exactly what my job is all about and what I do with every case study, community assessment, ROI metric, SEO analysis or data insight I develop for our clients.

For example, I developed a case study recently for one of our early customers, PETCO, who now has a wealth of ratings and reviews data collected. Their data clearly demonstrated that they have been able to reduce the return rate for their products by 20% since implementing Bazaarvoice even as sales increased. My research also showed that as their review volumes grew for many products, the return rate decreased dramatically. This type of actionable insight will undoubtedly play a huge role in PETCO’s future product strategies.
Listening to the customer and aligning your company strategy with your customer's desires can be driven with the right metrics and methodology for collecting data. I see time and time again new opportunities for our customers to take the initiative and listen to what their customers are saying to determine how to improve their marketing strategies,  improve their products, reduce their returns and increase their profits. With ratings and reviews data, companies now have much better insight into areas like product improvement opportunities, declining sales, suffering brand image, return rates, and even customer service issues to understand why customers are satisfied or dissatisfied. With sales data alone, a company can easily identify underperforming products, but it’s difficult to identify the root causes.

Listening to the customer is about more than just “listening,” it’s about engaging and involving them. Customers want more control and we should give it to them. Proctor & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley said at a recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) conference, “Consumers are beginning, in a very real sense, to own our brands and participate in their creation.” He pointed to not only consumer generated ads, but also Proctor & Gamble’s online community Beinggirl, “a site grounded in user contributions.” Lafley went on to suggest that it’s time for marketers to “let go.”

 I say let’s put the consumer in the copilot’s seat and really leverage from their valuable feedback and opinions. Many of our customers are already doing so and it’s fundamentally changing the way they do business. I’m excited to be in the ideal position to help them understand the voice of their customer.




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