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Bazaarvoice Hopes SML Partnership Will Help Boost Customer Engagement

Officials for Bazaarvoice, the consumer-generated content solution provider creating the world’s smartest shopper network, hope that their new partnership with Social Media Link (SML) will lead to bigger and better levels of customer engagement.

SML is a leader in online advocacy activation for brands while Bazaarvoice offers marketers a way to seamlessly integrate and boost the creation of authentic product reviews into Bazaarvoice’s syndication engine, which shares consumer generated content.

Aaron Bollinger, Vice President – Partnerships, Global Sales Management at Bazaarvoice, told Loyalty360 that the company’s goals for the partnership stem from the fact that consumer-generated content (CGC), such as online ratings and reviews, have significant influence on customers’ purchase decisions.

“Customers are more likely to engage with a brand or retail website that shares authentic opinions and experiences from other customers, and they are also more likely to engage if they can get their questions answered from other customers or the brand itself,” Bollinger explained. “We partnered with Social Media
Link because it has a unique engagement strategy that drives content for many of our clients with top-performing CGC programs. Social Media Link does a great job of activating brand advocates to produce impactful review content; and this provides more CGC for thousands of brand and retail websites in our network. By syndicating Social Media Link’s content, we’re providing more content for online shoppers to view and engage with to better inform their purchase decisions.”  

What’s more, Bollinger believes that customers trust CGC from other customers more than traditional advertising and marketing messaging from brands.

“Through this partnership, we’re providing more authentic review content for shoppers to view and engage with,” he added. “This builds credibility and enhances loyalty for the products they’re considering.”
SML CEO/co-founder Susan Frech told Loyalty360 that marketers understand how critical consumer opinions and reviews are in driving sales, both online and offline.

“Social Media Link has been a leader in helping brands spark authentic reviews and recommendations from influential consumers at scale,” Frech explained. “Integrating with Bazaarvoice, we can help marketers seamlessly syndicate impactful user-generated content through Bazaarvoice’s powerful network of brand and retailer websites. This partnership enhances Social Media Link's offerings as a key ‘fuel source’ for brands to generate authentic product reviews.”

Frech discussed the current state of online advocacy or brands and what might occur in the next five years.

“There’s no question how important advocacy is to brands,” she explained. “Consumers have and will continue to be bombarded constantly by marketing messages everywhere they go. The challenge for marketers will continue to grow as the attention of the consumer diminishes.  Marketers’ reliance on the consumer voice to help disseminate through the noise will only increase. In its initial rise, advocacy and influencer marketing urged marketers to chase after the most sought-after online celebrities. Both Social Media Link and Bazaarvoice have seen this shift, as consumers rely on other consumers to influence their purchase versus a paid endorsement. Your loyal consumers and advocates are critical in driving a myriad of business challenges including increasing sales. In the next five years, trust, authenticity, and context will play an even more important role. It will become apparent that success in online advocacy will depend on a brand’s ability to spark a groundswell of authentic and trusted content through real, everyday consumers. Through this partnership, both companies are aiming to offer brands that ability.”

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