Friday, September 15, 2006

The Customer Testimonial: Does It Make You Nervous?

You might worry about the perceived hassle for your customer in the development of a testimonial or case study. Or you might be concerned about how it shifts the focus off your business.

Either way, you need to relax—because customer testimonials, when they’re done right, are mutually beneficial exercises for your customer and your company.

In BtoB, there’s always a kind of chain reaction to success. It’s about helping customers succeed—and helping them help their customers succeed. Your marketing should demonstrate both these elements in a way that also shows your company’s key points of differentiation.

That’s where a customer case study comes in. You can focus the story on the success of your customer (and of their customers), which is a win-win situation. Meanwhile, the story lends third-party credibility and powerfully validates your claims about the value you provide. And it does so much more subtly than just telling people how great you are.

As with any other marketing initiative, a case study or testimonial should play up a clear, consistent message about your company’s differentiating strengths. And you don’t have to wait for the biggest or most groundbreaking success story. You can be just as compelling—and possibly more so—by showcasing the ways you’re helping your customers win on any given day.
After all, whatever way you make your customer look good makes you look good, too.

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