Ditch the vanity metrics and think beyond traditional customer marketing

Camille Rasmussen - June 22, 2017

Your customers are busy. They might love your product, but when it comes to publicly endorsing your brand, they often don’t have the the time or authority to speak on your behalf.

In a recent interview produced by Sweet Fish Media, our Director of Customer Success, Lauren Locke-Paddon, discusses how marketers are thinking more creatively and strategically about what they can do when they’re strapped for references.

Where are all the volunteers?

Many marketing teams still prioritize getting high-production assets, like videos and long-form case studies. As we explored in a previous post, these types of assets are the least popular with reference volunteers because they’re time-consuming and public-facing—which means your priorities might not line up with what your customers are willing to do (i.e. you might have trouble finding volunteers).

Focus on the aggregate

There’s no question that case studies, customer videos, and media statements are incredibly valuable materials for sales and marketing—84% of surveyed marketing organizations find that relevant customer proof helps sales people build credibility and handle objections, enabling them to close more deals. But in the era of Yelp, where aggregate reviews and ratings are seen as more trustworthy than a single review, these traditional customer assets carry less weight on their own.

Locke-Paddon explains: “If a restaurant has one star overall and there’s just one raving fan, you’re probably going to trust the aggregate a lot more.”

Some customers will never agree to be a named reference, often because of strict corporate legal policies that forbid vendor endorsements. That’s OK. Multiple anonymized testimonials or case studies from the right verticals can still prove valuable for your sales team. Or show the big picture by sending out a 2-minute survey to capture customer feedback and using the statistical results to pepper your social posts and marketing materials with customer proof.

Make sure the metrics matter

When presenting the statistical view, companies can also focus too heavily on the vanity metrics—like saying 99% of your customers are satisfied with your product—but this isn’t necessarily the most believable approach. Instead, dive deeper into the business outcomes you’re driving for your customers. Do 9 out of 10 customers experience time savings of over 25%? That’s helpful for prospects to know. Are 80% of your customers reporting their productivity has doubled with your product? Great, tell the world.

Instead of getting hung up on the difficulties of getting customers to participate in your high-production marketing activities, be open to creative ways to capture and present your customer stories. It’ll open the door to valuable feedback from customers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.

Listen to the full podcast to hear more from Lauren on the value of non-traditional methods to tell customer stories.

Camille Rasmussen

Camille Rasmussen is the Content Marketing Manager at TechValidate. She studied Journalism at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) and has over 6 years experience in marketing communications + content. When she's not writing, she's usually trying out new restaurants around town or exploring the beautiful parks, hikes, and beaches the bay area has to offer.

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