The Power of Few – Review or Influencer

Malcolm Gladwell’s bible to marketers, The Tipping Point, has been held close to marketer’s hearts since 2000.  In 2000 Gladwell offered remarkable insight into the “the power of few’ and how they influence the masses.

In recent years the term “influencer” is being used over and over again.  So, what does it really mean today?

As a recent guest on TheBeanCast, May 30, 2016, we discussed  the power of few and how it applies to 2016’s digital landscape.   Although, I didn’t really say what I was thinking…because I didn’t realize what it was until now – I offer it here.

As a direct response marketer we have always relied on testimonials to influence a purchase.  Without real, believable, and vetted testimonials a product didn’t have much of a chance.  Since 1990 testimonials have long been the influencing factor of direct response marketing.  Why was Gladwell’s “power of few” such a revelation in 2000?  And how much do Influencers today  affect sales of a product, service, or brand.

As an entrepreneur, a marketer, and the Owner and Manager of a consumer goods company, easyGopro – ergomonic toilet stool,  I find the following to be true.

Launched with a very limited budget and resources in November of 2014 on Amazon.com, to-date we have sold over 40,000 units, yet  have 432 reviews, just over 1%, based on most data, this is typical across Amazon.  You may wonder why that’s so when anyone can leave a review and Amazon encourages it.

 Quality vs. Quantity.

In order to increase the quantity I would need to dedicate resources to send an email, one by one, to each Amazon customer making sure to follow the very strict rules.  Since Amazon is our main revenue generator there is nothing I want more than to NOT SCREW UP A GOOD THING.  As a direct to consumer marketer I know that just one too many touch points with the customer can cause back lash – such as –  “I loved my easyGopro until I was bugged by the Seller to leave a review so here it is.. your product sucks.”  Yes, this review would live forever on Amazon.   It’s human nature – happy customers are not the squeaky wheels.

As an Amazon Seller, we are often bombarded by emails from companies such as   “I love to Review.com”.  This service encourages a Seller to give free product for a guaranteed review.  Okay, so what’s wrong with that picture?  In easyGopro’s case that would cost no less than $18.00+ each review.

Why would I pay $18.00 for a review?  Some please explain that to me.

Plus, there is nothing worse than reading contrived reviews.  Take it from me, the longer the review the more likely it was paid.  If you see a photo attached – beware – attaching photos is a fav of “paid reviewers”.

What if you, as a consumer, found out that 50% of the reviews were given FREE product?  Paid reviews are supposed to “disclose” perhaps the reason for long reviews – no one gets to the end to see the disclosure.   I digress, doesn’t that taint the influence reviews have on your purchase or how you feel about that brand?

That’s why I believe in quality over quantity – or the power of few.  Make no mistake – reviews are Influencers and are powerful.   The 432 reviews easyGopro has may not be many against our sales and  our competition’s 3,000 reviews, but ours are guaranteed REAL. REAL PAYING customers who have posted because they desire to influence others without an agenda.

Next time you see thousands of reviews on a product, or you are influenced by reviews, remember  there are aggregate companies such as Bazaarvoice.com  that gather  reviews across the web and show up as one total on retailer’s sites across the web.  This is misleading at best as Walgreen’s customers may have only bought 5 and commented on none, but you are seeing 1,200 positive reviews (aggregated).   Amazon does not allow this, but it does allow  Ilovetoreview.com through its sacred walls.

Next time you are being influenced to buy  a product or service, ask yourself by whom.