Testimonials – the personal testimony of a customer – is a creative format that has been an effective form of advertising for a long time. Customers who have a positive experience with a particular software application, actually enjoy sharing this information with their friends and colleagues.
A satisfied customer speaking to a potential customer who has not tried the product yet is a formula that has worked well for many years in certain categories. Over time, however, questions began to surface about the veracity of the reviews and therefore their effectiveness as an advertising tool due to their lack of reliability.
The big question is whether potential customers believe that there is a real person behind these statements or they were added by a marketing agency, bot or worse. If we were able to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the testimonials were indeed written by real customers, would that influence the brand loyalty of those reading these testimonials?
It’s important to consider what makes one statement seem believable, while another seems contrived. Certainly, the language used, the physical layout and the placement of the statement all have an impact. Proper language, high production quality and a prominent location all contribute to an air of authenticity, while low quality makes us doubt the source of the comment.
After years of enjoying massive popularity, by the 1970s and 80s its efficiency began to drop as consumers started to question its reliability. The Internet Revolution of the ’90s, however, was about to change that forever.
The 1990s witnessed a cosmic shift in the way feedback was gathered. Also referred to as the “birth of the internet”, for the first time customer testimonials could be collected and used in ways that were never imagined before.
Entering the new millennium, website visits, email, social media and other channels are all used to gain insight into the customer experience. Feedback has never been easier to capture, One could create their own survey and share it with their customers without relying on third-party agencies.
The Next Generation
Consequently, the term testimonials underwent re-visualization in the digital era and took on a new natural and organic configuration almost free of involvement with advertisers and creative people.
It is called: PURE – Post Usage Reviews.
It is the term that drives one of the hottest categories in the marketing industry today and is also part of the greater SPOQ – Social Proof Of Quality marketing strategy.
SPOQ is a super-term that describes all the channels through which people influence others in their software purchasing decisions. For example, people tell their neighbors about online products they have purchased and encourage them to do the same. This has more of an influence on their buying decisions than any banner or social video.
Here are a few configurations of this organic marketing formula that brands can integrate into their digital marketing campaigns:
- Customer Reviews – PURE quotes from real customers which are shared by real users, are a great way for brands to leverage authentic and reliable content.
- Social Posts – Social networks are the most natural place for customers to share their experiences.
- Video Testimonials – Testimonials are easy to make, do not require sophisticated audio-visual equipment and can easily be distributed via YouTube and other social networks. This is really a “must have” for any Software vendor.
- Interviews – Well-organized interviews with customers and thought leaders are more structured and appear less authentic than testimonials. Even so, in the right mix, it a certain customer persona and should be included in every digital content plan.
It is also important to remember that video is the most used and widely shared format. That is why all of the above should be integrated into videos where possible. While each format has it’s advantages, testimonial videos are perhaps the best promotional tool to influence the buying habits of potential software customers.
Social Proof of Quality (SPOQ) is where marketing is headed and Post Usage Reviews (PURE) is a great example of how that strategy is implemented in the real world. If you are a software vendor, you need to make sure that these digital marketing tools are integrated into your campaigns.
If you are a software purchaser, then we understand that deciding on a new software package can be stressful unless you follow a proven evaluation and comparison process to arrive at the most informed decision possible.
If you are making a major software purchase decision, then it’s important to rely on an honest third-party evaluation based on the right combination of user evaluation, testing and professional analysis. Now is a good time to contact TopSoft and find out how we can help you make the right choice.