OK, so there could be dozens or even hundreds of reasons why marketing strategies fail or underwhelm, there really is no silver bullet to success. However, having over 20 years experience in delivering integrated campaigns for science and technology clients, we are regularly surprised when companies fail to consider the power of case studies.
In science and b2b, peer referencing and recommendations are still worth their weight in gold. The trade media absolutely love them. What could be more impactful than a customer backing up all of the messaging you put out about your product or service with examples and data to show how you helped them? This is why our clients use testimonials as a key part of their marcomms strategies for customer influencing, SEO, content and also to align their marketing with their sales teams (happy sales teams and happy customers are always a good combination).
Testimonials, once completed, can be used as part of a wider cascade to amplify across social channels, video channels, networking channels, published in media, via blogs, and hosted on your own website. They are the Holy Grail core content piece which, when maximised, can deliver you an entire quarter’s worth of activity, if not more!
The SEO optimisation benefits of this amplification are enormous. By putting customers at the heart of content, companies can work out the best ways of reaching other companies. But is it that easy? Here’s a simplified overview of how to use customers at the centre of your content marketing strategy:
- Work out your content plan ahead for your product, ensuring you have a variety of tools and content pieces planned to meet differing audience needs
- What are the keywords for somebody using this product? (Such as: tools for analysing urine for drugs of abuse; or integrating clinical datasets; or comparing the stability of biosimilars)
- Find out the common search terms used for your products. As they are likely to be niche, even a small number of searches for very relevant terms help you to see what terms should drive your case study content
- Once you select your preferred key words, work out which KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or customers you have who could answer this question? This is where your sales team will come in. One of them will know the perfect customer using your product who can give the perfect answer
- Now the fun starts. Let’s get a content programme moving. How? Let us loose with your sales team: we can identify everything about that customer, good and bad, that we can talk to them about
- Get the sales team to introduce us, we will interview the customer and manage them through a process to approval of a final testimonial, either written or in video format
- The text contains the keywords ‘I test for drugs of abuse by...’ and other key phrases to ensure maximum alignment with key needs of your wider audience
- Once you and your customer have approved their case study, we cascade it and amplify it. Publish, repurpose, share, link, back-link, get the customer to share, etc.
Two particularly interesting insights we have learned from interviewing customers for our clients this year:
- All of the customers, in multiple geographies (and this year we are already talking China, North America and Germany) and multiple disciplines have one thing in common: they all used this client’s analytical equipment brand when they were a student. Some of them are now 10 years on; some are 30 years on in their career. They have used many different suppliers and many different products. But, they all share a warm relationship with the brand they learned with. Some suppliers dismiss students, but it is worthwhile remembering that the students of today are the customers of tomorrow.
- Our clients’ customers love to talk. In every sector we are involved in, we are regularly told: our customers WILL NOT participate in testimonials. They do. Be they pharma. Be they government. Be they academia. Be they regulated industries. Be they companies with confidential customer lists. There is always a proud user somewhere, who loves their job and loves talking about it and what innovations, breakthroughs or savings they have made with our clients’ help.
And when the key words are planned and align, a customer talking about your product or service in a public forum can bring real benefits. Aside from objectivity and powerful endorsement, your SEO rankings improve, bringing you more of the right people you don’t already know. Who could want more?
To talk to us about boosting your marketing with impactful case studies, contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kath Darlington, CEO, The Scott Partnership.