30 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 • FOGHORN FOGHORNFOCUS: SALES & MARKETING © 2017 Caterpillar. All Rights Reserved. CAT, CATERPILLAR, BUILT FOR IT, their respective logos, ”Caterpillar Yellow,” the ”Power Edge” trade dress as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission. See our complete offer for ferries and cruise ships at marine.cat.com See the video at storiesfromsea.com PLEASE DO NOT REMAIN SEATED Do not switch of all electronics. Please move around freely. And above all, do not miss the spectacular beauty off the sea. With Cat® high performance engines, the total time of your journey could be the same as flying. Only with better views. And without the leg cramps. cat_ad_ferries.indd 1 08/01/18 22:30 of online reviews and their importance to marketers. But, the kicker in that five-year-old-article is the percentage of user influence. HBR authors Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen cited “30 percent of U.S. consumers say they begin their online purchase research by going to Amazon for product information and reviews.” The key here is 30 percent. Fast forward to 2019, and sources studying purchasing trends quoted much higher numbers—more than 90 percent now say their buying decisions are influenced by the online reviews. In just five years, research has shown an increase of more than 60 percent of the impact and value of online reviews of customers. That is extraordinary and powerful because it’s another way to market your operation. Last year, Evan Kelly, Senior CommunicationsAdvisor for the Better Business Bureau, penned an article titled “The Value of Online Reviews.” Yes, online reviews are valuable to pro- spective customers, but they’re also an opportunity for the business owner to share what a great experience can be gained aboard their vessels. “People see the value in being an informed consumer,” Kelly says. “That means as a business you should see the value of driving your audience to write reviews about their experience with your services.” The November 2018 issue of FOGHORN reported a Pew Research Center study found that 95 percent of adult Americans have a mobile phone, and 77 percent are Smartphones. This is a tremendous opportunity for vessel operators to persuade passengers to use their phones for the good of the vessel operation. If you hand passen- gers a printed ticket, add language on the ticket on how and where to leave reviews about their experience aboard your vessel. And, if you offer a service of taking professional photos of pas- sengers as they board, use that oppor- tunity when they look at their photos for purchase to leave a review on the more popular online review sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. And, as your crew bids the passengers farewell, make an announcement asking for feedback and encourage reviews as well. n Learn More! https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-market- ers-misunderstand-about-online-reviews https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/10/ how-to-encourage-positive-reviews.html