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Four Types of Testimonials – But You Should Focus on Two

Scott Dieckgraefe Insight

Word-of-mouth is the most impactful and least costly promotion for products and service. This is true for B2C and B2B promotional efforts. And the best way to generate positive word-of-mouth is something we all try to do every day: Produce a great product, with great service, at a fair price.

One step down from word-of-mouth is the testimonial. Getting a satisfied customer to say, in their own words, positive things about your company, brand and people will add muscle to your owned, earned and paid media initiatives.

Below are the four basic types of testimonials, and why two of the types are important for your business:

Fake/Actor: Turn on the TV and it won’t be long before you see a commercial featuring fake testimonials, with paid actors raving about the product. If only it was that easy for manufacturing sales & marketing pros. They must work for consumer marketers because we see so many of them, but you’ll be wasting precious resources using them in your paid and owned media. Your customers and prospects are smarter and more demanding. We recommend avoiding the use of this sort of testimonial, as it lacks credibility.

Shrouded: These are testimonials with attributions that may read something like “Dan M., engineer in Minnesota.” Sometimes B2B marketers will employ these if they can’t get permission to use an actual name, title and company name. Such testimonials are okay in a pinch, and indeed may resonate with existing customers. But they lack the authenticity and transparency needed to move the needle with new prospects.

Transparent, Peer-to-Peer: These are testimonials from one person for another and are one of the two types we encourage our clients to pursue and use. LinkedIn has popularized such testimonials, so many think of these as primarily career boosters. But such testimonials can help with your business’ sales and marketing, too. After all, even when we’re doing business with a company, most of our interactions are peer-to-peer.

Transparent, Customer for a Product or Company: Getting a customer to be transparent and to say positive things about your product or company – and giving you permission to reference them in your sales and marketing messaging — is testimonial gold. We’ve found that such testimonials not only open some prospects’ doors, but also generate allegiance by existing customers and the customer providing the testimonial. The “holy grail” of testimonials is when a known individual from a company promotes another company. While peer-to-peer testimonials are strong, corporate-to-corporate testimonials are strongest, showing that corporate relations extend beyond just a few individuals.

Watch our future Insights for additional thoughts of how to generate and use customer testimonials. Or contact our president, Scott Dieckgraefe, today for a personal discussion. We think you’ll say great things about us.

Studio/D is a full-service marketing communications firm working with mid-market industrial and manufacturing clients, together with companies that support the manufacturing ecosystem. We’re a team of “makers” who simplify complex communication challenges with messaging that engages and drives results. Learn more about us at StudioD.agency, or call our president, Scott Dieckgraefe at 314-200-2630 x701.