You would have by now caught on with the trend of the “gurus” endorsing different products. Such campaigns are found for every huge product.
There can be no better advertising than word of mouth – your satisfied customers talking good about you. And companies like Microsoft are using this strategy very effectively by featuring their high-end customers talking about their products. When customers who have used a product and been satisfied with it favorably endorse it, this is called “testimonial advertising,” which is one of the most popular endorsement approaches. The endorsement can be in any form and the individual giving the testimonial may be the head of the company or someone holding an important position in the company.
This testimonial advertising has come about to bring in the most important factor of influencing a customer into trying a product, since it has been praised by a satisfied customer who is also someone important. This gives the prospective customer a reason to emulate and choose to become a customer too.
If you have seen all the sales pages online loaded with testimonials with people who are said to have used the products, you would understand why they do it. But only people who visit these sites can see these testimonials. It is the same with the bigger companies like Microsoft too, where their testimonials are usually buried deep down in their company websites.
But now things have changed and several IT companies are taking them to a mass audience. They are using customers in different mass communication channels and the testimonials of the CEOs, COOs or other important people.
One example of a company using testimonial advertising is Dell, which has been implementing this strategy for its products that are targeted at small and medium businesses. The management feels that public endorsements help improve interactivity with customers, grow the market as well as help build a brand. Microsoft on the other hand has campaigns running that are not aimed only at SMBs but follow the same strategy of engaging with their customers.
The COO of a well-known and reputed company that uses a particular brand of desktops endorses that they are “affordable and worry-free services” and says they power all their centers around the world. Another company that trains millions globally talks about their servers that manage their growing chain of learning centers. These are the kind of endorsements customers like to hear from successful companies.
This strategy works both ways, and is beneficial to the companies selling these products and the ones using them. When the heads of companies providing testimonials discuss the products they are using, their customers in turn tend to feel more confident in them. The companies that engage in continued dialogue with the customers are seeing excellent results and they now have the key to retention of customers.
There is another brand strategy that many of these companies find works the best – targeting the chief financial officers of companies. They are ensuring they fulfill their customers’ need of sharing their experience by providing a platform where they could speak of the benefits; such as low licensing fees, decrease in energy cost and the lower cost of buying the products.
A research shows that consumer’s attitudes are by and large susceptible to influences and they are willing to conform to others’ expectations when making purchases. The consumers’ need to identify with others and enhance one’s image by acquiring products or brands suggested by others in the field is taken advantage of in this form of advertising, which is all about impression management. One consumer says, “I generally purchase brands that I think others will approve of.”
While there are several creative tactics and techniques that keep coming up each day; testimonial advertising is a workhorse selling tool that never seems to go out of style. It is considered to be the third most popular advertising form currently. It works great even for internet marketers as long as they ensure the testimonials they provide are genuine. The current day consumer is smart and easily sees through fake testimonials from unknown people. This is the reason Microsoft and others get their testimonials from people in the high management cadres in companies.