“Our customers love us but they won’t talk.”
We hear this all the time but in many cases, this statement just isn’t true. Many organizations believe that Customer PR = Press Release but it is so much more than just a press release.Typically a sales rep will ask their customer to participate in a press release and they may initially agree. However as the release moves through the approval process, it is likely to be shot down by corporate communication or by the legal department because they don’t want to be seen endorsing a particular company or brand. There are many other ways to leverage customer success that don’t include a press release.
What is Customer PR?
At Red Javelin, we define Customer PR as a programmatic series of activities that incorporate earned (public relations), owned (content marketing) and paid (PPC and advertising) media to create a surround-sound effect to promote customer success.
Happy customers tell great stories. Customer PR begins with thoroughly interviewing the customer and understanding their motivation for participating in your program. Each customer is different and will require a customized strategy to leverage their success and tell their story. In our experience, it is best if a third party interviews your customer. We have found that customers can be forthcoming with information that they are reluctant to share with their vendor. Sometimes we uncover an installation, support or a billing problem that the vendor was not aware of or hasn’t been resolved, or we may learn that their internal sponsor may be seeking another position. Sometimes we uncover a motivation or a problem statement that is completely new to our client. Once the customer information is gathered, then it is time to put together a customized strategy for that particular customer story.
Why Customer PR?
Customer success stories are essential for growing your business. Buyers increasingly expect to check with their peers before they’ll purchase from a company. In fact 60-90% of the B2B buying process is complete before they even speak to the vendor.
It is a win-win proposition for both you and your customer when you invest in a customer success program and integrate it into your broader marketing and sales programs. Customer success stories accelerate the process of converting prospects into solid sales leads by instilling confidence and trust with prospects – essential components to closing business. The other item to note is that tell customer stories helps build value in the business by validating a company’s position in the industry. This validation can play a role in getting ink in industry and financial analyst reports as well as attracting investors. Customers that participate in your program are positioned as thought leaders and gain heightened visibility within your company and within the industry.
Build an Army of Advocates
If you don’t have an active customer reference program, then it is a huge missed opportunity. Happy customers tell your story best – they have been there and done that. They can talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly – all of which are helpful to future prospects.
Customer PR provides the best bang for your marketing dollar. Do you want to learn more about how Customer PR can help you? Download our eBook now!