Your existing customers are the most obvious pool of potential spokespeople for your company, brand or product. They’re people who use and adore what you sell, and whose enthusiasm for your product will add emotional energy to your testimonial videos. There are two broad categories of customer testimonials.
- Sound-bite testimonials involve getting customers in front of the camera for a short while to say a few positive things about your product. When done properly, these testimonials create a sense of great spontaneity and give you short, believable sound bites of people discussing their experiences with your product. This creates what we call the “Wow Factor.” When a TurboTax user says “I thought Free Edition was fantastic!” or an AARP member enthusiastically proclaims “I love discounts!” you think to yourself, “Wow, these people really do love the product!”
- In-depth testimonials also involve your customers talking about what your product has done for them. However, in-depth testimonials require a lengthy interview (often an hour or more) during which you explore many facets of the way your customers have experienced your product and its benefits. Because you can obtain a great deal of useful language and information this way, in-depth testimonials are pretty much a requirement when you’re producing a 30-minute infomercial (or even a laptop presentation for your sales team).
In a previous blog post (July 25, 2011) I talked about how I rediscovered the power of testimonials when I was asked to do a 30-minute infomercial for Trendwest Resorts, a timeshare developer.
We needed not only great material but lots of it. So I didn’t just plant these folks in front of the camera for a few minutes until I got a nice sound bite or two. Instead I interviewed many people, in depth. I had a 30-minute show to fill, and I needed to get everything they could give me, every word, every enthusiastic endorsement, every supporting “reason why.”
We spent the time to conduct in-depth testimonial interviews — and we were blown away by the richness and breadth of what the “true believers” had to say. This produced an extra dividend, because the managers who ran Trendwest got a lot more than great testimonials. They also gained powerful and useful insights about how people were actually using their timeshares to enjoy better vacations. Let me give you an example or two…
Prior to the testimonial video shoot, we thought that the vast majority of timeshare owners were just using the kitchens to make coffee and a simple breakfast. What we learned instead was that the kitchen produced treasured vacation opportunities for many of the timeshare owners. Men who love to fish on vacation loved the fact that they could bring their fresh catch back to the time share unit and not only be able to wrap it and store it in the fridge, but also enjoy their fresh-caught fish for dinner. Some of the women talked about how they loved to cook, but didn’t have enough time in their everyday lives to make the kinds of special meals they wanted to make for their families. Their idea of a great vacation was to have hubby and the kids go off jet-skiing for the day (or whatever) while they shopped for fresh, local produce and then made a meal to remember. Other families just appreciated the fact that they could save precious vacation dollars by not having to eat every meal out.We got literally hundreds of insights like these – information for management to use in future sales materials.
You know, many of us work for companies that spend big money on market research. The research company does the field research and writes up a report, usually including a few verbatims. As a result, we think we know what customers like about our products and how they use them. But if you really want to know what customers think, nothing – I mean nothing – beats in-depth customer interviews. Because you not only get the information that you as a marketer or product developer need to do your job, but you get it straight from the horse’s mouth. And you have a copy of it – which means you can share your customer testimonial videos throughout your organization – with Customer Service, Public Relations, Human Resources, Engineering, Investors and others. And how often does anyone in any large organization actually get to see customers talking about what they love about their product? Hardly ever!
Of course, when you shoot in-depth testimonial videos, you also get a lot of great sound-bite testimonials for use in short-form DRTV, radio and other media. So even though they cost a bit more to produce, in-depth testimonial video shoots deliver the best value simply because of the range and amount of testimonial content they generate. To see examples of customer testimonials, click here.
One caveat: In-depth testimonials involve conducting a Testimonial Drive, with a thoughtfully designed recruiting and screening process. We’ll discuss the techniques for conducting various types of Testimonial Drives in an upcoming blog. Be sure to stop by. In the meantime, you might want to check out the services The Testimonial Wrangler offers.