Imagine the conversation: “Great news! The CEO of our biggest client has agreed to give us an endorsement. What do we do next?”.
Most companies are familiar with making the most of case studies. They step through the problem, the implimentation and the results. Case studies are powerful pieces of promotions writing, typically much shorter than a white paper.
Endorsements, however, are even shorter. They can range from as little as a photo opportunity (think of celebrity endorsements in adverts for Rolex or Louis Vuitton). They certainly cannot step through all the benefits, RoI, cost containment, changed barriers, and long term rewards. The classic customer endorsement is like a headline which links the benefit for the client to the solution from the provider: “ABC company was able to increase customer loyalty 10% with the solution from XYZ Systems.”
That sounds great but as soon as you show an endorsement like that to a journalist or an analyst they might follow up with questions about how the improvement was made, and perhaps they might request an interview – unless it’s straightforward. Because an endorsement by itself does not by itself give a worked out explaination of the solution, and because most technology solutions needs explaination, it produces more work for the marketing team. That is one reason why endorsements are most used for established consumer brands: where they are reenforcing awareness.
However, for most business-to-business services you’ll need to develop marketing materials to go alongside the endorsement. because you’ll be elaborating the statement by the endorser in the same document as their comment, you’ll be very well advised to get their sign-off on that as well. So, in short, an endorsement for a B2B solution almost always needs to be turned into a case study.
Our experience is that, overwhelmingly, the most effective way to get this done is by recording a conversation with the endorser raher than writing up something for them to approve. Ideally, you can make a simple video and use both the recording and transcripts of the comments. With a recording, you’ll get more material in less time and – because it’s out of their mouth already – it’s easy to get a form of words which they will agree with.
Using this approach means that you’ll get more opportunities to use the endorsement. In particular, you can use small parts to build interest in hearing more about your solution. That can lead people to sign-up forms and making contact. And it’s that contact which drives the sales cycle, not the endorsement itself.