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But You Can’t Use That…

But You Can’t Use That…

But You Can’t Use That…Reviews are, for the most part, pure potent content. Reviews mostly tell the unvarnished truth. Compare that to the copy that most businesses post to their websites – little more than jargon goulash.

Rumor has it that reviews help to boost search rankings of your business or products. The Google algorithm is designed to try to serve up the most relevant and helpful content to search inquiries. And it makes a lot of sense that reviews meet the “relevant and helpful” requirement.

But in the B2B world, reviews aren’t as commonplace as they are in the B2C world. Just this morning I read this in the eMarketer Daily

Amazon Dependent: New data from Feedvisor found that checking Amazon is becoming a regular part of shoppers’ behavior. The firm reported that 85% of Amazon Prime members visit the platform at least weekly. And that figure was 56% among non-Prime members. In addition, the survey found 79% of Amazon shoppers trusted the service above all others for shipping, and nearly half of customers (47%) had shopped on Amazon via mobile device.

It occurred to me that I visit Amazon several times a week – and what I do on those visits is search for a product and then read the reviews.  For example, I was thinking about getting a lamp.  I went out to Amazon to read reviews on the lamp.  Which lamp has the most reviews?  It could be any possible purchase I’m looking to make.  What is the mix of reviews – how many 5-star, how many 4-star, etc.?  Is there any helpful information in the review, for example, “these shoes run a bit narrow” or “the assembly is rather complicated” or “while it worked initially, the gizmo is poorly assembled and broke after six uses.”

I’m also an avid reader of Google, Yelp and other reviews.  How about you?  But back to B2Bs…

Currently, B2Bs rely on testimonials and case studies instead of reviews (though I think in time reviews will become part of the B2B landscape).

I write case studies. I’ve interviewed people who have told me the most amazing things – the REAL benefit of using a particular product or service – only to quickly say, “but you can’t use that…”

You see, they don’t want to put the organization in a bad light. They don’t want to be the one who shares the fact that the company had made a big mistake or a series of mistakes or fell victim to the fallacy of sunk costs. Yes, they had corrected the mistake, and they are doing much better now – but they didn’t want to admit that a mistake has ever been made.

Do nothing to suggest that the organization, management teams, former employees, current employees, the board – no one had ever made a mistake. It’s just been one long ride of continuous improvement and one uninterrupted streak of good decisions.

Not only is it unbelievable, it makes for a very boring read.

The truth is so compelling. Missteps and suffering are familiar, daily occurrences for us mere mortals. Acknowledgement of the flaws, an un-neutered description of circumstances – these are the things the capture our attention.

I wrote an eBook for one of my clients that takes “But You Can’t Use That…” real situations, camouflages the sources, and transports them to the realm of fiction in order to tell the truth. Paradox? Irony? I think so.

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