Book Review – Everyone’s a Critic: Winning Customers in a Review-Driven World, by Bill Tancer

One of the biggest changes in internet marketing has been from producer-centered ad distribution to a decentralized, review-oriented model. It’s always been true that the best marketing you can get is from happy, satisfied clients. The inverse, though, is also true. The biggest threat to your online brand is the negative public reaction of an unhappy customer. Business owners have, for years, felt bullied and intimidated by customers who threaten to leave one bad review. Marketers know bad news travels much faster than good, and a bad review can ruin your average while driving business to your competitors.

To help deal with this messy situation, Bill Tancer has written Everyone’s a Critic. Tancer is a New York Times bestselling author and a former columnist for Time magazine. His previous works include Click, an in depth look at what drives web traffic. Prior to launching his writing career, Tancer worked for Experian Marketing in global research and his data analysis skills really shine in this book.

Tancer takes up the challenge of social reviewing. He uses a wealth of data to show how businesses can survive and thrive in a world where companies like Yelp dominate the search results. Tancer uses a blend of well-thought-out hypothetical examples and real-life case studies to make his point, that businesses have the power to use their review presence to promote their brand. One such case study is of Bolt Barber, a company that actively encouraged one-star reviews. Bolt’s “People on Yelp Hate Us” campaign became a way for the barber to drive interest in his business and attract new customers by using the publicity of bad Yelp reviews to showcase pleased customers.

Tancer approaches the book with equal parts research and humor. His time as a journalist shows, as the book is incredibly readable. Tancer is used to having to earn his audience and his engaging style really makes the book an enjoyable read.

Online reviews are a fact of life for modern businesses. You can either blame them for your misfortune or you can recognize their potential and use them to improve your customer relations. Everyone’s a Critic walks marketers through that second path with evidence, expertise and a fair measure of charm. Pick up Everyone’s a Critic today, and get your reviews working for you!