Moreover, they are not just listening to any old recommendation they find online but are listening to their taste ‘twins’. These are consumers who share the same opinions, whose purchase procedure, engagement and characteristics are very similar. Ultimately, by mimicking other users’ behaviour and purchase patterns these people are becoming ‘twinsumers’.
Before the digital marketing age, marketers were reliant on influencers who would spread their customer experience by word of mouth, to their ‘real-world’ friends, to encourage other shoppers to visit their stores. Although customer loyalty schemes did help to track the customer journey, they still did not allow marketers to see the full consumer journey and to track shoppers at every touchpoint. Without this information marketers would struggle to see exactly who their customer was and at what point they were being turned off by the brand. The explosion of e-commerce brought many opportunities for marketers to track customer insight and recommendations online but all too often it came without in-depth analysis of what was making the customer engage with the product in the first place.
So why should marketers be interested in these twinsumers? Firstly, as the online environment is now a hotbed for social interaction, buzz around a brand can have longevity as audiences continue to engage in dialogue about it. It really cannot be underestimated how much consumers are relying on peer opinion over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions; most importantly, consumers are increasingly looking at opinions that have been posted online to inform their choices. The twinsumer phenomenon turns millions of reviews, ratings and recommendations into truly valuable results that can exactly match one person’s particular preferences to another.
This is crucial for businesses as the nature of these well-linked and related recommendations often leads to impulse and surprise buys, as well as generating more sales. Statistics also show that click-through and conversion rates of recommendations based on collaborative filtering are much higher than untargeted content such as banner advertisements or top-seller lists. Consumers respect the opinion of others, and twinsumers respect the opinions of those who share their characteristics. You can’t impress them with traditional marketing and advertising alone any more.
Marketers need to consider if their brand can exploit this new wave of twinsumerism and adapt their websites accordingly. Do they already provide a review, opinion or recommendation area on the site? If so, then consider adding the functionality for personal profiles to allow real twinsumerism to blossom. This should include everything from your customer’s age, appearance, occupation, favourite websites, hobbies, interests and musical taste to entire biographies. In fact, anything that allows other consumers to grasp a better feel for how compatible they are with the brand.
While many twinsumers bond over a niche market such as travel, books or reading, marketers must not ignore the impact of the ‘Master Consumer’: a leading twinsumer and a mass influencer. These are certain reviewers, bloggers or consumer experts who have become so popular that they appeal to large numbers of other consumers who will trust and follow their recommendations even if their profiles do not match the usual narrowly defined twinsumer matches. By identifying which of these master consumers are relevant to a brand, marketers can look to initiate twinsumerism by specifically targeting these influencers.
Twinsumers are an important part of the process of how we make purchasing decisions online. The digital generation emerging is the first group of consumers to grow up with all these new tools and peer-to-peer options through which they are ready to contribute. There are already millions of personal profile, blogs and homepages up and running exchanging this information. With online sales continuing to increase, marketers need to leverage every opportunity to ensure they can achieve the most cut-through. While twinsumers are an emerging phenomenon, as a purchasing group they are perpetually growing and it is imperative for any marketer to consider these consumers within existing and future digital strategies.
Published by Figaro Digital – 01/10/2009