Aloha from beautiful Maui! Debra and I are on vacation with our daughter, Rachel, celebrating our 11-year wedding anniversary.
During a little downtime this week, I have seen three profound examples of user-generated content in action:
1. Today, MarketingSherpa released a new case study on how President's Choice (large Canadian grocer) is leveraging online customer reviews of their private-label products in their stores, circulars, loyalty program, and product lab. It is well worth the read; it is one of the most powerful multichannel examples that we have worked on with any client to date. I also encourage you to look at the creative samples they provided. Note that free access is only available for seven days from the publish date.
2. Yesterday (and again tonight), I saw a new Ford Fusion commercial that uses customer review content from Yahoo! Autos in the ad as the primary selling message. I think this may be an industry first. I have seen user-generated content used in many forms, but not actual customer review content on a major television advertisement (it ran on American Idol's session finale tonight – that can't be cheap). The commercials are branded with Ford's new website: Ford Challenge. I wrote about General Motors doing something similar last year, but not quite as profound.
3. On Monday, I read an article on Yahoo! about 45 million people globally voting on the new Seven Wonders of the World. Quick – can you name the historical Seven? I couldn't, and only one of them survives today. This is notable news to me for two reasons. First, 45 million (and one) people globally are now engaged in caring about important historical places in the world (although it somewhat saddens me that, by comparison, 74 million people voted on the new American Idol winner). Second, it taps into three trends that I have been following: the wisdom of crowds (and crowdsourcing), the power of the new globally connected individual (see Kryptonite mention), and the upheaval of traditional power structures (this one being the intellectuals in 200 BC that selected the historical Seven).
On that last trend, I am reading David Weinberger's new book, Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, which covers this trend extensively. It is a pretty good read by one of the ingenious authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto (one of my favorite books – I consider Chapter 4 a must-read for marketers). The basic theme of the book is that the laws of the physical world have constrained the desires of individuals for the purpose of organizing the masses. For example, you can't dynamically rearrange a physical retail store for a specific niche shopper to make it easy for them, but you can do that online. This may be obvious to many of you by now, but Mr. Weinberger has a unique style and writes of the history behind (including such topics as the invention of alphabetized lists) and the implications of this very important trend.
I think it is very cool that the Internet has enabled projects that would have never been possible before – like the new seven wonders voting. Frankly, most would trust the opinion of 45 million people globally than a few intellectuals anyway.
And I was also very happy to see Shop.org announce this week that David Weinberger is one of the four keynotes at the Annual Summit this year in Las Vegas. I hope to see you there!