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No one believes your marketing claims: Keep your promise to buyers with authentic marketing

No one believes your marketing claims: Keep your promise to buyers with authentic marketing

Marketers have one big, whopping 5-letter problem, and its name is trust. In a recent survey, we found nearly half of people (43%) say marketing is not so, or not at all trustworthy. But why the skepticism?

Perhaps worn down by years of disruptive, in-your-face advertising, today’s savvy buyers aren’t swayed by unsubstantiated marketing fluff and boastful claims. What they’re looking for is authenticity—real, credible information about your brand that they can count on.

And yet, as marketers we all too often fall into the same old habits, producing content that’s really only a thinly-veiled sales pitch, and making big claims that our products and services just can’t live up to.

Silicon Valley veteran and SurveyMonkey’s own VP of Product Marketing and VOC, Christine Rimer, is no stranger to this challenge. Here, we’ve gathered four of Christine’s best practices for creating compelling marketing messages that break through the noise and build trust with your audience.

1. Establish credibility with the voice of your customers

We can spend hours crafting the perfect marketing message, with no detail missed and all the jargon under the sun. But in spite of our best efforts, our messaging can still come off sounding dry, inauthentic, and worst of all—just like our competitors.

So what can marketers do to stand out?

Tapping into the voice of your customers is one way to bring authenticity to your brand—as well as build trust. In fact, a widely shared Nielsen study found 92% of buyers trust peers over marketers. This is why case studies, testimonials, and customer quotes are so valuable—your customers can put your value prop into words better than anyone.

2. Embrace the yelpification of business with quantitative data

We’re all aware of the power of reviews. As buyers, we know that whenever possible, we want to hear from those who have gone before us. Whether choosing a restaurant or buying a product online, we’re looking to see positive reviews from a lot of customers.

In our study, we asked buyers what they found more trustworthy: a product with 5 reviews and a 5-star rating, or a product with 100 reviews and a 4-star rating. The overwhelming majority (82%) opted for the product with more reviews and a lower average rating. And most people (74%) also think the 4-star product with 100 reviews is of higher quality.

One thing is clear. If you’re limiting yourself to a few testimonials on your site, you’re doing your business a disservice. Buyers want to know what the majority of your customers experience with your product—not just a few of your top advocates.

Paying attention to where conversations are happening about your brand across the web is important. But you don’t have to relinquish control to these external reviews. Instead, try the proactive approach and feature glowing reviews on your website, or survey your customers to generate powerful statistical proof points—like “87% of customers reduced costs by 30% or more.”

3. Test your messages to avoid marketing fails

Part of creating authentic, compelling messages is making sure they resonate with your prospective customers.

Before you launch a new ad or introduce refreshed product messaging, ask yourself—how confident are you about that message? Will your prospects find it helpful? Trustworthy? Boring? Too sales-focused? Testing out your claims before you launch is a proactive approach to find out what your buyers find more relevant, more believable, and more compelling. And it might just help you avoid a marketing flop.

4. Invest in your customers’ experience

Authentic marketing goes beyond earning the trust of your prospects—it also sets the tone and expectations for your customer relationships.   

When your customers make a purchase, they expect that what you deliver will match the expectations you’ve established in your marketing claims. In other words, you need to ensure the reality meets the promise. Any gap in that say-do ratio will erode the credibility and trust you so painstakingly built. We all know the expression: Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets.

So how can you make sure you’re living up to your promises?

Systematically measuring your customer’s happiness is critical to ensuring you understand your customer’s experience in a measurable way. Leveraging the industry-standard Net Promoter System® provides you with benchmark data to see how you compare to your peers.  

And it comes full circle: A consistent Net Promoter program will give you the confidence that today’s prospective customers are tomorrow’s happy customers—and those happy customers will be your company’s best marketers.

For more on this topic, watch Christine Rimer’s presentation from the 2018 IQPC Chief Marketing Officer Exchange.