Are Your Clients Using Subject Matter Experts?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Back in the day, it was enough if a marketer’s product or service scored several 5‑star reviews. Now, marketers have to decide if they should reward influencers and subject matter experts to post reviews. New research from Bazaarvoice has all the data you need to help your clients navigate this topic.


Consumers definitely want assurances before they make a purchase. About 28% believe they can trust influencers. Often, these folks are celebrities or individuals who have built an online following over a period of time. Lately, it seems that consumers may trust micro-​influencers as opposed to the Kardashians of the world.

Customer Reviews

While consumers reviews have been long been accepted as a measure of product and vendor quality, they’re not without controversy. Some industry watchdogs have accused vendors of stuffing their channel with paid reviews. These issues may have contributed to a growing suspicion of consumer reviews. Bazaarvoice findings indicate that nearly 25% of shoppers don’t trust these reviews as much as they did before. Younger consumers, those ages 18 to 44, are most accepting of these reviews. And they like to see photos in reviews, as well.

Subject Matter Experts

While consumer and influencer reviews succeed when shoppers are ready to buy a lower cost item like apparel, they don’t work as well for big ticket purchases. Bizarrevoice data indicates that subject matter expert reviews matter a lot in specific categories.

  • Electronics 44%
  • Financial services 44%
  • Automotive 40%

When making these kinds of purchases, consumers want the opinions of trustworthy individuals. If your client is selling a new kind of home security system, the opinion of subject matter expert, a person who has a background in the industry, counts a lot. These SME can speak to why a specific feature might be necessary and they may discuss side issues that consumers haven’t thought about.

If your client is looking for a way to edge out their competitors, help them hire a SME. In addition, review the AudienceSCAN profiles in AdMall from SalesFuel to learn about which consumers rely most on consumer reviews when making purchases. And remind your clients that consumer reviews about their level of service are critical. Offer to manage reviews for them to ensure that comments, good and bad, are answered quickly.