Our new expert spotlight series showcases the great minds of SMG—those who keep us innovating, growing, and driving meaningful change for clients. We sat down with Jason Norris—Vice President, General Manager of Social Solutions—to get the scoop on what it’s like to work in the dynamic world of interactive marketing and what brands should be doing to protect their online reputation.
Describe your day-to-day at work
I’m concentrating on growing our social offerings, so my main priority is to support our client insights and sales teams. This includes developing best-in-class social tools to help brands monitor and boost their digital presence. It also means keeping SMG educated on enhancements to our social solution so clients will always be up-to-date and using the smg360® platform in a way that’s most beneficial to their business.
What are the biggest challenges of your job?
Keeping up with the ratings + reviews marketplace. In general, the digital marketing space evolves quickly. The major players in the space, Google and Facebook, continually make changes to their priorities and platform. Facebook’s change from ratings to recommendations and Google’s addition of Google Questions and Answers are two good examples. Also, the competitive technology marketplace is complex. There are many flavors of reputation management software available, so understanding existing offerings can be an additional challenge.
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy working across the organization, and in my role, I touch all departments. We have a lot of talented people at SMG who continually push for innovation and advancement of our products.
Why is it important for brands to implement an online reputation management solution?
First and foremost, a ratings + reviews platform provides a way to manage a brand’s online presence and ensures a positive brand identity in the eyes of the consumer. In the social space, the perception of a brand can change with one negative post. So, it’s extremely important for brands to understand, in real time, what is being said about their products and services.
Responding to customer comments in reviews helps with guest recovery and loyalty. It also directly impacts incremental store traffic and revenue. For example, Google’s local search algorithm provides preference to brands that are responding to ratings + reviews. Higher rankings equate to more search impressions and exposure to a brand’s local listings—which ultimately leads to more store traffic.
How can brands better optimize ratings + reviews to drive customer loyalty?
An important part of any reputation management program is responding to ratings and reviews. More and more, customers are expecting a response from brands. If a customer leaves a 1-star review and the brand reaches out to remedy the poor experience, the customer is more likely to give the location another shot. Otherwise, the customer may not ever come back to the brand. So recovery is an integral part of the value proposition. On the other hand, if a brand reaches out to say thank you for a 4 or 5 star review, this helps build loyalty for a brand enthusiast. And finally, consumers are using online reviews to make purchase decisions. More than 90% look at local reviews before making a decision. If these consumers see a brand who is actively monitoring and responding to customer reviews, they are more likely to choose the brand.
How did you end up in this line of work?
I’ve been working in the digital space since 1998, the pre-Google world. Yes, that ages me! Back in the mid ‘90s I volunteered to work on a project at Sprint to help initiate redemption of Sprint Rewards points online. I’ve continued to work within the digital marketing space ever since.
Want to join our team? Go here for more on what it’s like to work at SMG and to view a list of current opportunities.