Negative reviews drive sales, claims marketing expert

Greenpeace ad attacking Nestle: strong reaction
Greenpeace ad attacking Nestle: strong reaction

Negative authentic reviews by consumers are more effective at driving sales than positive reviews, according to a leading marketing expert.

Speaking at the Social Marketing and iCommerce Summit in Monte Carlo, Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers and well-known marketing author, said: "A negative review on a product website actually has a higher physical connection with a sale than a positive one."

According to Peppers consumers view negative reviews as more authentic and don’t trust websites where 100% of reviews are positive.

"Fear shouldn’t hold you back from allowing consumers from reviewing your products," he added. He pointed to the fact that it is easier for consumers to ensure a review is from an authentic consumer on social media platforms.

Assessing the challenge brands face on social media, he criticised Nestle's heavy-handed response to criticism of its controversial use of palm oil by Greenpeace and disgruntled consumers.

Peppers said: "The number one mistake brands make is they think they can control social media like they would an advertising campaign; you can’t simply take an ad campaign and transfer it to social media."

Peppers believes that many marketers have too high expectations when it comes to social media. "It is not going to be a solution to all your problems," he added.

Using the analogy of trying to clean "pee from the pool", Peppers said brands cannot erase their mistakes online, but this does not mean they should let fear or criticism hold them back.

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