When you need recommendations or opinions about a product or service, the data shows that most of us prefer to get advice from our personal connections, friends and family in the first instance, followed by others we rightly or wrongly perceive as unbiased: reviewers, journalists, and ‘influencers’. In fact he last viewpoint we trust is that of the brand itself, in its advertising or marketing material.
That’s OK, because we all know the purpose of advertising and marketing material and understand when we’re being sold to, so long as it’s transparently done. We need facts and figures, and expect the brand to have all this data at its figurative fingertips, whether we’re interacting with a frontline sales automation or searching the data on its website.
But we do need opinions and informed independent feedback too and part of the reason is the sheer complexity of products we have to choose from – leading to highly bespoke and unique use cases, most of which won’t be relevant to us individually. We don’t need to know and care about what most people think, just people who need and value the same things we do. While a brand might market to us in a hyper-personalised way, how do they know us and what we really need and want?
Take UC tools, or in fact B2B SaaS in general. Whether they’re produced by a brand new startup or a global corporation, they’re all experts at slick explainer videos, feature and pricing tables, and elegant testimonials. They’re also converging their functionality more and more, offering very similar features on the face of it, but with increasingly niche integrations and priorities. How on earth do you decide which one to sign up for, whether you’re looking to migrate from a tool you have outgrown, or make the best choices for a brand new team?
Of course you can read all the great content on UC Today, and sign up to get a closer look at all the tools and systems which most interest you at the UC Summit. But even when you’ve filtered down to the best fit for your present need state, based on the combination of features and functions available, how do you know what’s coming round the corner? What trends are on the horizon? What’s hot and what is not, and what is going to be influencing our decisions about UC tools and investments, now and in the future?
This is where we circle back to individual people we trust, whether we know them personally or not. Even if we know them as professional influencers and advocates, we need the human perspective to relate to and identify with, to weigh the worth of the opinion offered. As Seth Godin has memorably stated, ‘people like us do things like that’ – ie, buy things like that, use tools like that. And care about the things which interest us.
They also share great content over at UC Advocates – including insights from brands where advocates have personal knowledge and connections, great writing from a range of publications and correspondents, hands-on user reviews and comparisons, and much more. So as well as signing up for direct connections with the brands themselves at UC Summit, do check out this fast-growing advocacy community as well, to gain recognition for your own insights while you connect with others in this fascinating space.