Harnessing Customer Testimonials for Better Marketing

“Customer testimonials send strong signals of trust because they are candid endorsements of your product by the people who actually use your product. Your customers will always be more persuasive than you,” – Gregory Scott

Intangibles, such as customer goodwill and market reputation, are crucial for the modern business enterprise because these can make or mar business prospects in competitive markets. This fact has been acknowledged by the titans and purveyors of modern commerce. We may consider the role of such intangibles as the ‘soft power’ that can be creatively wielded by a brand or a business in a bid to garner a bigger mind share of the market. The intangibles can also be expertly crafted into effective marketing messages that multiply brand impact and spark conversations among consumers and customers. In light of the above, we can spotlight the importance of using customer testimonials as an appropriate strategy to build and consolidate business reputations, expand the customer base, widen the remit of a business enterprise, and to develop better marketing strategies, among others.

Marketing strategies can be developed from multiple points of view in corporate boardrooms and in the minds of business managers. These strategies involve many moving parts and therefore, must define the key proposition on which a certain strategy hinges. However, marketing strategies that are designed around customer testimonials will likely help businesses to gain greater traction in modern markets simply because customers tend to trust other customers. The opinion and the experience of a fellow customer attracts far more attention from modern customers that are essentially informed entities that face a plethora of choices and calls to action in over saturated markets. Therefore, business planners and corporate captains must seriously consider using customer testimonials as a primary plank in the creation of a marketing campaign.

The essential value of customer testimonials is manifest in the human aspect. A testimonial is essentially a satisfied (or thrilled) customer offering a glowing tribute to a certain corporate product or service. Businesses must take care to identify the customer in the course of said testimonial and reproduce his or her words verbatim to achieve the full effect of the exercise. Modern customers tend to be heavy networked and educated in terms of market offerings. This should be borne in mind while crafting a customer testimonial. The choice of words, body language, and intonation or pitch in the voice are crucial in the creation of a successful customer testimonial. That said, we must note that probity should be an essential feature of customer testimonials. Any sleight of hand or fakery can seriously ruin a brand reputation or the public image of a business enterprise.

Brands and businesses must encourage customers to speak their minds in a customer testimonial. A video testimonial can record images, graphics, and voice and therefore, production quality must be handled with care. Print testimonials can feature printed images, the accompanying text, and images of the product. Testimonials created for social media platforms must essentially be brief and engineered to transmit a succinct marketing message that spotlights the customer’s experience. In addition to the above, the creators of customer testimonials should pay special attention to brand colours and must use high definition product images to achieve the desired effect. We must bear in mind that testimonials are essentially brand ambassadors that can acquire a life of their own. Brand equity depends heavily on the creation of a competent message and therefore, businesses should devote time and effort in the creation of such messages.

Every business devotes significant parts of its corporate budget to the development of advertising and publicity campaigns. Business planners and media managers should try and incorporate customer testimonials into such campaigns in an attempt to deliver an emphatic marketing message. When budgets permit, a celebrity brand endorsement could be added to the marketing mix so as to amplify the outcomes of such campaigns. That said, businesses should consider recording long form customer interviews and extract certain portions to develop credible customer testimonials. Brands and businesses should also be absolutely certain about the intent of selected customers that choose to speak or air their views about a commercial product or service. To that end, the real life experience of a customer should dovetail with campaign objectives in order to create a fine testimonial.

Photo booths and video recording installations can be considered by businesses that seek to collect spontaneous customer testimonials. The aforesaid devices can be installed for a limited span of time in shopping malls, cinema theatres, travel junctions, and commercial premises. Brand users and customers can be encouraged to step into these installations and create an original piece of performance centred on the commercial brand or product. We must note that this strategy comprises an experimental approach to customer feedback and therefore, every outcome may not be pitch perfect or picture perfect. However, commercial organisations may deploy creative professionals to develop an engaging collage of all the recordings at said installations and fashion an innovative marketing message for multiple media platforms. The sheer novelty of this approach can help a business to attract consumer attention and thereby harvest better campaign outcomes.

Social media has emerged as a significant vehicle for marketing campaigns in modern times and media planners can consider the use of social media to project enduring marketing messages. For instance, a fast food brand that operates a regular presence on social media can devise a campaign that spotlights customer testimonials on its social media pages and handles. This strategy can be synchronised with other ongoing campaigns so that social media fans of said business have a wider choice of media to peruse when browsing online. The specific experiences of customers can be chronicled in video format and played in a loop on the Internet. We must note that the testimonial-based marketing campaign can be periodically refreshed with new footage so as to preserve the marketing momentum of said campaign. This campaign may gain the said business additional mileage because the inherent mechanisms of social media help fans to share promotional videos, thereby amplifying the marketing message in the online world. Further, information and data that emanates from such campaigns can be fed into other marketing campaigns in an attempt to bolster the success of these campaigns.

Business websites are often flagship online presences and therefore, business managers can consider adding customer testimonials to corporate websites in an effort to garner higher return on investment on publicity and marketing campaigns. We must note that testimonials are essentially user-generated content that can add significant relevance to a website in terms of search engine indexing. Therefore, the systematic addition of such content to a website can help to elevate its online ranking and increase the prospects of greater traction with online customers. This strategy can be adopted by brands and businesses and can be applied to sub-brands that may have independent micro-sites on the Internet.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the uses of customer testimonials in boosting the success of a marketing campaign. The creative and innovative use of customer testimonials can breathe new life into tried and tested marketing techniques. This comprises the very lifeblood of business innovation and can help brands to achieve significant success in terms of business outcomes.

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