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Are you looking for an effective method for marketing your products? There are a few different approaches that you may consider for your marketing campaign. Four of the most common strategies are as follows:
・ Case studies – a detailed investigation into a specific anecdote or situation that serves to demonstrate the effectiveness of the product, service or other offering.
・ Customer testimonials – a brief writeup from a customer or client who shares her experience with the product or service and how or why it was effective.
・ Celebrity endorsements – a celebrity or well-known icon or personality provides a testimonial and recommendation for a particular product or service.
・ Social proof – when individuals see that others are enjoying a product or service or if they see that others have a positive view of a company’s offering, they take this as “proof” of efficacy or quality. The others’ positive impression of the product or service “rubs off” on other consumers, making others more likely to make a purchase. Product reviews and even social media can serve to play upon the psychological phenomenon known as social proof.
Each approach has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Today, we’ll explore these pros and cons in an effort to help you determine which option is best for your product or service, budget and business objectives.
Case Study Pros and Cons
Case studies involve an in-depth anecdotal report that examines the usage of a product or service. This approach involves a very detailed analysis of the product or service and its impact.
Case studies can be very effective, if the prospective customer or client reads it. That’s the main obstacle with case studies. They tend to be a bit lengthy and detailed. Many consumers simply don’t have the patience to read the entire case study overview. However, business customers are far more inclined to be persuaded by case studies or white papers.
Otherwise, case studies are an affordable and fairly effective option. The effectiveness can be improved by combining a long case study write up with shorter reviews and testimonials. For further reading on current trends with case studies, read the post How to Write an Effective Case Study and How Current Trends Are Changing It.
Pros and Cons of Customer Testimonials
Customer or client testimonials can be very effective. Testimonials play upon the concept of social proof – the consumer subconsciously thinks, “If it was effective for him, then it will be effective for me too.” Note the customer’s line of thinking; they are looking for customers who are just like them. Often, testimonials are best if it can be shown that they are from those in your target customer base. Sometimes I encounter a business that is focused on small business customers, but their testimonials are from Fortune 1000 companies. The issue is the target customer may believe that they aren’t your ideal customers and seek out another business.
Testimonials can be written or recorded on audio or video. The reason many companies don’t get customer testimonials is they simply never ask their customers for one. Sometimes I do business with a fantastic company, but no one ever asks me for a testimonial. When I ask them if they want one from me, they are grateful and delighted. It really is as easy as just asking.
The primary obstacle involves actually finding customers who are willing to write a testimonial. This problem can be side-stepped by offering some sort of compensation or “thank you gift”, such as a small voucher or discount on a future purchase. Some companies hold a contest to obtain testimonials. They invite their customers to enter their testimonial in a contest and the prize may even be a free weekend getaway. If you are a start-up and your first customers insisted upon a deep discount, don’t give the discount away for free. Ask them to provide a testimonial for the deep discount.
Financial compensation can even be offered, but some companies are hesitant to take this route due to ethical reservations, since financial compensation can skew an individual’s remarks. To avoid any ethical conflicts, some companies will opt to disclose that the individuals have been compensated for the time spent writing or recording their testimonial.
Pros and Cons of Celebrity Testimonials
Celebrity testimonials are more effective than other testimonials due to society’s tendency to idolize and idealize celebrities and public figures/personalities. The main “con” associated with celebrity testimonials concerns the cost and celebrity accessibility. Current trends show that celebrity endorsements are becoming less effective as social media rises.
The most effective celebrity testimonials involve a well-known celebrity who has some natural connection to your product or service. For instance, if you’re selling an animal-friendly and nature-friendly cosmetic line, it would be best to get a testimonial from a celebrity such as Jane Velez-Mitchell or Pam Anderson, both of whom are known for their pro-animal and pro-nature stance. Only a handful of celebrities or personalities will “work” for any given marketing campaign, which narrows your possibilities.
Then, you must contact the celebrity and get them to agree to endorse your product or service. Many celebrities have a hefty endorsement fee, particularly for more comprehensive spokesperson roles. These fees can be cost-prohibitive.
A nice alternative is to seek out a more accessible, lower profile personality. Local radio and television personalities can work well for local marketing campaigns. And endorsements from several B-list celebrities or personalities can ultimately have the same potency as a single endorsement from an A-list celebrity. It’s a nice option for marketing campaigns with a limited budget.
In sports, often companies go after the professionals to get endorsements. I’ve always wondered why not work with the local champions. Seriously, my kids are into sports. They know who the local champs are. In fact, they see them at competitions and practices. They all want to be like the local champion. The national or professional champion is too distant. Everyone wants to have and wear the same things as the local champion. Why not use the local champions instead. It’s probably less expensive. In fact, you can probably just give products to them.
Social Proof Pros and Cons
Social proof is a well-established psychological concept. When an individual sees that others view a product/service/company in a positive light, they too are more apt to see you in a positive light. According to a Nielson report, globally, 46% of people used social media to make purchasing decisions.
Social media plays upon social proof principles in a very big way. A large volume of followers and lots of social media interactions sends a clear message: lots of people like this company, product or service; this makes others more likely to follow along.
Social media is an extremely effective marketing tool and it serves to keep prospective clients and customers well-engaged on a long term basis. It’s also a great way for you to connect with individual customers, which sends a clear message: “we care about our clients/customers.” The primary drawback is the amount of time that must be invested in order to enjoy a real benefit from social media.
Reviews and ratings also play on the concept of social proof. People see that others enjoy (or dislike) a particular product, and they adopt a similar view. Reviews and ratings are free, but there are drawbacks as well. After your product is well known, there’s little work involved on your end to get reviews. However, until you reach that tipping point, you will have to be proactive in getting those reviews. It can take time to get the high-quality positive reviews that you’re seeking. Negative reviews and ratings can have an extremely powerful negative impact on your company’s image. A recent study showed the biggest factor wasn’t so much the review ratings but the volume of reviews that matter to consumers – the more the greater influence. The average review rating across the web is 4.5 out of 5.
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting your marketing method. Many companies combine multiple approaches for optimal results. However, for many small businesses choosing and focusing on one that will bring the best results is best.
Leave a Comment May 16, 2013
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