RubbermaidThese days it’s easy for companies to become enamored with flashy social applications that promise “community,” glossing over the inability to monetize the investment. But at Bazaarvoice, we’re manically focused on the ROI of Social (it’s just part of our DNA!). In my opinion, that is the most exciting aspect of the Community Management role – the opportunity to help my clients create goal-oriented conversations on their site. This term simply means that each social initiative should be tied to a clear objective, whether it’s conversion, engagement, retention or another valuable metric for the business.

Rubbermaid is a prime example of a client that has created a loyal community, benefiting both the brand and the consumer. When Rubbermaid launched Ratings & Reviews in July of 2008, Jim Deitzel (eMarketing Manager for Rubbermaid.com) had two primary goals: provide additional product information and listen to what consumers say about the brand. These types of goals are common for consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients, especially if their website doesn’t primarily sell to consumers. CPG brands value the real-time consumer feedback, sharing it with their product management and customer service teams. As Jim shared in a previous blog interview, Rubbermaid frequently mines their review content for opportunities to better satisfy customers. This can have a direct impact on consumer loyalty, a benefit no company should overlook when creating a social commerce strategy.

Just this week we released a joint case study with Rubbermaid, tracking the impact of customer reviews on the site’s key performance indicators, including conversion, revenue per visit and engagement. Over a 5-week period, Rubbermaid saw the following results:

  • Review readers showed a 10% incremental increase in revenue per visit, compared to consumers who did not engage with content.
  • Average order value for review-readers was also 5% higher.
  • Rubbermaid also saw a 5% incremental increase in conversion for review readers.
  • Finally, Rubbermaid saw that review readers were more likely to sign up for the Rubbermaid Club, increasing their overall engagement with the brand

As a true all-Star client, Rubbermaid isn’t settling for just online ROI from Ratings & Reviews. They’re taking their UGC offline, integrating the voice of the consumer with print media as well. This month they launched a national free-standing insert (FSI) for Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids, featuring review quotes and star ratings for the product. The truly unique aspect of this promotion is that the ad includes a unique coupon code, allowing Rubbermaid to track its redemption compared to traditional FSIs. Rubbermaid has bridged the gap between online and offline, merging the reach of print adverting with the measurability of online advertising. I’m excited to see the results of this campaign, benchmarked against FSIs without UGC.

Rubbermaid print ad featuring customer ratings & reviews

Ultimately, Bazaarvoice encourages clients to “plan with the end in mind” when it comes to social commerce. Rubbermaid is a perfect example of this mentality – Jim identified his goals for customer reviews, created a clear plan to execute against them, and consistently measured the results. Kudos to Jim and the entire Rubbermaid team! This is just the tip of the iceberg for this brand; look for many more innovative social activities from them in 2010.

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