Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Ecommerce Interview featuring Graham Charlton from Econsultancy

This week, we’re featuring Graham Charlton from Econsultancy, an ecommerce blog which provides statistics, analyses and tips on various topics for marketers!  Graham Charlton, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the blog, has more than 6 years of experience in the field, and writes for a wide variety of topics, such as SEO, UX, ecommerce marketing, and much more.

His responses to our ecommerce and marketing interview questions are as follows:

There have been many changes lately in the marketing world: Search engine algorithm changes, big changes at Google (not provided, publisher/author markup, TOS changes, G+ comments for Youtube), Facebook custom audiences, Twitter ads etc. What are your thoughts on these changes? How has the role of online/ecommerce marketing evolved in light of them?

There are quite a lot of different changes there to answer all at once. To take algorithm/Google changes, these changes can be very significant for ecommerce and online marketing, and smarter businesses will keep an eye on them. The loss of just about all keyword data does hamper the ability of marketers to use this data to optimise landing pages, but they have been coming for a while.

There will always be changes, but the brand marketers that concentrate on attempting to deliver value and a great customer experience should be well-placed to deal with them.

What challenges do you think SMBs might face with online/ecommerce marketing in 2014? What can they do to overcome them?

It does seem that Google is favouring the more established brands in search results, so small businesses may have to work harder in this respect. However, as mobile, and therefore local search, becomes more important, businesses can use services such as Google+Local to gain an advantage in this area.

Broadly speaking, SMBs have some advantages over larger rivals – they can experiment more easily, they can be more personal, more agile in their marketing. They need to be savvy and use this to their advantage.

84% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth the most. What are interesting/ innovative uses of word-of-mouth marketing you’ve seen? Any thoughts on how marketers could take advantage of word-of-mouth?

Kia is an interesting example. They have been using their reviews in offline marketing, both in print and TV campaigns, using this as one of the key selling points in their ads.

Of course, you need to have the good reviews in the first place, and again this comes down to providing a great customer experience. However, if you have them you should use them – display them clearly on the website, use in campaigns, make it easy for customers to share their views, and so on.

Finally, who do you think will win: Google or Facebook? Why?

Interesting question. I think you’d be foolish to bet against Google. It is so well established in search and online advertising alone, with a very profitable ad business, that it would take a catastrophe to topple it anytime soon. It has also diversified in many other areas.

Points to ponder over:

  • Brand marketers that concentrate on attempting to deliver value and a great customer experience should be well-placed to deal with the ever-present changes in the world of ecommerce.
  • As an SMB, you can experiment more easily, be more personal, and more agile in your marketing; so use this to your advantage!
  • Focus on providing a great customer experience, and good reviews will come. When you do have good reviews, be sure to use them in your marketing collateral (e.g. your websites, in campaigns), and make it easy for customers to share their views, etc.

For the latest research articles, news and tips related to most things ecommerce, head on over to the Econsultancy blog, and follow Graham Charlton  on Twitter & Google+!

Also, stay tuned for the next post, as we’ll be featuring Matt Winn from Volusion!

Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion ecommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior and social psychology.

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